Tag Archives: Leo Burnett

The Best Global Auto Ads

Drum roll, please.

The One Club today revealed the best international auto advertising  during the press days of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The non-profit group, dedicated to recognizing advertising creativity, honored winners of the Automotive Advertising of the Year Awards.


Fiat and its Brazilian shop Leo Burnett Tailor in Sao Paulo topped the print-outdoor category. Their winning campaign, dubbed “Letters,” carried the safety message, warning of the dangers of texting while driving. The stark ads showed letters of the alphabet and used the negative space around the letters for people or things a driver might not see while texting and driving.

FiatOneShowWinnerThe One Club received 550 entries for all categories, which were rated in two rounds on a scale of 1-to-10 by a panel of 50 creative directors and journalists, including myself. Judges were to consider the originality of the ads, whether the work moves the brand forward and whether it creates high brand recall. The One Club said near the end of the second and final round of judging that the scores of the 56 semi-finalists were “very close.”


Honda Motor Co. Ltd. in Japan bested the online video category with its 1:29 short film from Dentsu in Tokyo called “Sound of Honda/Ayrton Senna 1989.” The video honors Senna, the late, legendary F1 race car driver and his fastest lap in 1989, when he set the world record qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix on the Suzuka circuit. Thanks to Honda in-vehicle technology, first introduced in the ’80s and used in Senna’s famous lap, the automaker was able to recreate that famous lap using engine sounds and LED lights at the Suzuki Circuit.

It may seem a big geeky, but it’s very cool.

Honda said it got more than 2 million views from Brazil, the US, Japan and the rest of world in just 2 months. Senna, a Brazilian, died 19 years ago after a crash during the San Marino Grand Prix. He drove a Honda-powered car for the Marlboro McLaren team in all 3 of his World Champion titles.

Last month, this video won the Grand Prize for the Entertainment Division of the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival.


BMW North America tied with Toyota Motor Sales USA’s Toyota Division in this category.

BMW wanted to build awareness for its upcoming, futuristic new i electric sub brand. BMWoneshowWinner2

Working with its agency, kbs+ in Manhattan, BMW created a digital storefront “Window Into the Near Future” at street level in New York City. As cars passed in the window’s reflection, they were turned into BMW’s i3 and plug-in hybrid BMW i8 concept vehicles.

Toyota wanted to show bust the misperception that its Tundra pickup wasn’t as tough as its rivals from Detroit. Toyota and its ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi in Los Angeles, partnered in a unique opportunity – using the Tundra to tow the 300,000-pound Space Shuttle Endeavour to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Toyota got the word out with online videos and TV ads, which generated tons of news media coverage and social media buzz. Thousands of people lined the streets of Los Angeles to watch the pickup tow the shuttle a quarter-mile to the Science Center.

The Tundra Endeavour Campaign generated 131 million Twitter impressions, a billion unpaid media impressions and Tundra sales jumped by 31%. A Twitter drive raised more than $400,000 for the Science Center.


Hyundai Motor America found a way to spread the word about 2 new Elantra models, the Coupe and the GT. Hyundai’s ad agency, Innocean USA in Huntington Beach, California, created the “Driveway Decision Maker.”

Consumers could choose an Elantra to take on a virtual test drive through a colorful digital world and land in their own driveway. Using  Google Street View, people could also see the Elantra in front of any location in the world, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Hyundai said the effort helped lift Elantra to the brand’s best-selling model.


Honda and Wieden+Kennedy in London hit another one out of the park in Europe with a clever corporate ad that showed off the company’s innovation and products.

The “Hands” film, aimed at the UK,  is simply a delight to watch and was one I highly praised here in AutoAdOpolis last September.

The film went viral and has already tallied more than 10-million views on You Tube.

People’s Choice

Nearly 20,000 visitors to The One Club’s site tapped Honda Motor Europe’s “Illusions” TV spot as Public Choice winner. Created by McGarryBowen in London, the ad for the launch of Honda’s CR-V 1.6 Diesel showed a montage of optical illusions to position the SUV as a big car experience with smaller car costs.

Bravo to all the winners!

Last year was the first year The One Club honored top car advertising during the press days of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In 2012, the group presented awards to the top 10 ads from the prior 25 years.
MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to Paul Edwards,  promoted at General Motors to VP of Chevrolet marketing in the US. Edwards, 44, had been executive director of GM’s global marketing since 2010. He joined GM in 1992 and succeeds Chris Perry, who resigned.
MAKING TRACKS II: Mike Jackson, has been named to the new role of president of Phelps, an independent, integrated marketing firm in Los Angeles. Among the stints during Jackson’s 30-year career in the ad business, was VP-marketing and advertising for GM in North America.
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GM’s Advertising Is Disappointing

General Motors has had plenty of time to get its advertising house in order.
It’s been more than a year now since the General moved the account for its biggest brand, Chevrolet, to San Francisco’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partnership. And the one-year anniversary of Fallon, Minneapolis, taking over the Cadillac account, is coming up.
Overall, the work has been a huge disappointment, with only a few shining moments.
A shame really, since what better time for GM to really kick their advertising into high gear. GM should have used this time to clearly define each of its four brands, differentiate them and try to win back American buyers with compelling communications in all channels.
And a bigger shame when you also consider how much GM is spending. The automaker shelled out $542 million in U.S. measured media in the first quarter of this year, according to Kantar. That was enough to rank GM as the nation’s third largest advertiser. GM outspent the three other carmakers in the top 10 – #7 Chrysler; #8 Toyota and #9 Ford. GM outspent Ford by $243 million, Toyota by $235 million and Chrysler by $223 mil.
Arguably, at least two of those other automakers are getting more bang for their ad buck.
Now the grapevine is buzzing that Goodby Silverstein is in the hot seat with GM.
And Fallon had an exodus of its Detroit staffers on Caddy, with less than 10 of its original 22 staffers still standing a couple of months ago. Some of them split on their own; others were pushed.
Is there a Chevy or Cadillac ad that impressed any one of you and made you say “I wish we had done that?” I doubt it.
Even Joel Ewanick, GM’s VP of global marketing, seems frustrated.
During a recent interview on Autoline Detroit, Ewanick confessed he’s been hard on all of GM’s agencies, including Leo Burnett USA on Buick and GMC. (Ads for those two brands aren’t setting the world on fire either.) He said the reason he’s tough on them is he’s looking for consistency in the messaging.
While Joel handed kudos to Fallon for “nailing” Caddy’s new ad theme of “red-blooded luxury” in the first TV commercial early this year, he admitted “we had some trouble getting the (other) ads ready,” and those others were “just okay.”
Yeah, like this one- still airing- called “Raindrops” for the CTS-V. Narrator Laurence Fishburne tells us in the spot: “ When you build the world’s fastest production sedan, you consider everything. Like at 190 mph, even a simple raindrop becomes a powerful force. The Cadillac CTS-V, every detail built for speed and performance, right down to the windshield wipers. We don’t just make luxury cars, we make Cadillacs.”

Windshield wipers? Really? And this has exactly WHAT to do with Cadillac? You gotta wonder what they were thinking.
Actually Sherry Weitzman, national ad manager of Caddy, explains in this behind-the-scenes’ YouTube video that the big idea behind the ad is to show the brand’s attention to detail, craftsmanship and excellent engineering.

But is that what the commercial is really doing?  Not even close.
This YouTube video has only gotten 5,500 views in six months- not exactly a viral marketing miracle by any means.
Seems the Fallon guys just wanted to use their fancy camera. And the commercial is too similar to a Cadillac Super Bowl spot about 7 years ago showing a car driving through rain in slow motion.
At least Fallon didn’t propose an ad with sofas driving down the road, as Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York did during its short tenure on the account. BBH figured just because THEY thought of Cadillacs that way, the rest of the world still did. Hello!
Speaking of Fallon, Ewanick admitted “it’s never the agency’s fault, totally.” (A main truism of the business rarely verbalized by CMOs) So, he said, the client made people changes at both Fallon and inside GM.
Meanwhile, on Chevrolet, Ewanick gave Goodby a grade of “a solid C” overall. (Ouch!) Although he added “thanks to the Super Bowl, it was closer to a B.”
Were we watching the same Super Bowl with all those so-so commercials for Chevrolet?
At any rate, what compelling advertising have we seen for Chevrolet since then? Can’t think of any? Me neither.
Chevy should be in high gear by now with its new messaging and ad tag “Chevy Runs Deep.” But we’re simply not seeing it. That’s a damn shame. Let’s hope Goodby hits it out of the park for Chevrolet’s big centennial communications.
“You’ll see the work get better,” said Ewanick.
Let’s hope so.

MAKING TRACKS: MARTIN COLLINS has recently returned to Ford Motor Co. as a general sales manager after 4+ years at Group One Automotive, where he was most recently regional VP in the West. He’s moved back to Michigan to work in Dearborn. Marty started his career in 1985 at Ford where he held a variety of assignments within Ford Division including marketing, field operations, franchising, product development and strategy. He also worked internationally, where he was Northern Regional Manager for Ford of Britain for two years. Welcome back, Marty!

Buick Ties with March Madness and Non-Profits to Crystallize its New Positioning of Luxury

The “new” General Motors has gotten around to Buick advertising – finally – and is hoping Americans, starting tonight, get a clearer impression of the brand’s positioning as approachable luxury. And Buick will lean heavily on March Madness, the annual tournament that stirs up ten of millions of college basketball fans. Buick’s sibling, Pontiac, had been a long-time March Madness partner, but Pontiac is gone now.
Buick is a leading auto sponsor of the NCAA’s March Madness tourney. The first  TV commercial with Buick’s new positioning breaks during tonight’s broadcast, also available on truTV.com. Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Troy, Michigan, is national creative agency of record for Buick and handled. Actor Kevin Bacon is the new narrator for the brand’s ads. There’s no tag line; Buick says it doesn’t need one. Having no tag is probably a good thing considering all the silly ones it used starting in 2001. Remember “It’s All Good?” Probably not.
Yes, it’s certainly time for Buick to start tooting its own horn and making some relevant noise after dallying around most of the past decade with branded-engineered models and a revolving door of ad campaigns and ad tags. Buick’s newer, sleeker-looking models in recent years are a huge leap for the brand and attracting tons of positive ink from auto enthusiast mags. Problem is not enough people know .
Ads in recent months haven’t been very impressive, but GM had been busy developing new messaging for its volume Chevrolet brand and longtime lux brand, Cadillac. GM’s fourth vehicle brand, GMC, is in the best shape in terms of knowing what the brand stands for and able to communicate that message.
As part of Buick’s “approachable luxury” positioning, it has joined a corporate partnership with the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports to focus on the accomplishments of former student athletes who are now giving back to society and their communities. The auto brand and the NCAA will tell inspirational stories of these athletes in a new series dubbed the Buick Human Highlight Reel. Several :90 video stories of individual former athletes went live last night on ncaa.com/buick, where visitors are asked to submit other former NCAA athletes making a difference.


Turner is the producer, although some online stories are from Buick’s digital agency Digitas. Online user-generated ad community Zooppa will also contribute to the 50-to-60 stories Buick expects to eventually have on the site, the brand’s ad director, Craig Bierley, told me.
Buick is also the exclusive title sponsor of a 30-minute TV show of select Human Highlight Reel stories that will air prior to the televised Final Four semi-final games April 2. The year-long initiative will extend into other NCAA sports, including football this fall, as well as the lacrosse championship and women’s soccer.
Buick is teaming with the the non-profit Samaritan’s Feet, founded by former U of North Dakota basketball player Emmanuel Ohonme, who attended today’s press conference at a downtown Detroit YMCA. Ohonme said Wisconsin missionaries gave him his first pair of shoes when he was 9 years old in his native Nigeria, which helped him dream of bigger and better things that eventually led him to this country. The NCAA has been a supporter of his non-profit and already helped donate shoes to more than 3 million youngsters in 40 countries. He is one of the featured video stories on the NCAA’s Human Highlight microsite with Buick.
Buick started giving away the first of 150 pairs of shoes and socks to needy Detroit kids today at the Y after the press conference.

Ohonme and GM's Chris Perry (foreground) Give Detroit Kids New Shoes

During the long Final Four weekend in Houston, Buick, the NCAA and National Association of Basketball Coaches have partnered to donate 2,011 pairs of shoes and socks during the long Final Four weekend in Houston.
The GM brand will make a major splash in social media for the Human Highlight Reel with NCAA-sponsored apps on Facebook, Foursquare YouTube and Twitter.
Buick’s-NCAA Facebook app will let college round-ball fans post their team via a “March Madness badge” on their profile. The app will keep track of each team’s fan base.
Buick expects to generate a billion consumer impressions over the three weeks of the Final Four tourney, said Tony DiSalle, who became VP of the brand’s US marketing on Feb. 1.
Having two luxury car brands is going to be a tricky balancing act for GM, as it would for any automaker.
But DiSalle, Bierley and Chris Perry, VP of all GM’s marketing in this country, are all singing from the same song sheet when it comes to how the automaker plans to differentiate the two brands. They each told me that Buick owners have long been an inclusive bunch and like to be part of the community rather than above it. They’re referring to the good old ’50s, when Buicks were very popular purchases for doctors and lawyers. Still, the brand’s peak year was 1984, when Buick sold 941,611 cars in the U.S.
Meantime, the GM guys say Cadillac owners are more individualistic and more entrepreneurial.
Sounds good and probably looks even better on paper. Now let’s see how it plays out in real life.