Tag Archives: Molly Peck

Are Chevy Ads Finding New Roads?

Chevrolet recently introduced its new “Find New Roads” advertising tag with a splashy :90 TV commercial that broke during the Grammy Awards. The montage of cars, each with different music, is visually interesting. In case you missed it, here’s the spot from Chevy’s ad agency Commonwealth, a 50-50 joint venture of IPG’s McCann Erickson Worldwide and Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

It’s good to see that General Motors’ biggest brand included the sexy Corvette in the commercial. But why are there no crossovers or pickups? Those segments are certainly a big part of the brand’s bread and butter these days. The scenes in the spot are pretty nifty. The robo dog is cool and who doesn’t like deer? The  first part of the Sonic section looks very much like a spot for retailer Target, another Grammy broadcast sponsor.

But the whole thing somehow doesn’t gel as one; doesn’t come together. Who is finding new roads? Where are the new roads?

What probably bothers me most is the boastful line “with the best lineup of vehicles ever….”

Memo to Chevy: Who said you have the best lineup ever? It’s better to use third-party ratings than pound on your chest with that blanket statement. Why? Because there’s plenty of skeptics out there and people are more likely to trust third party sources. Hopefully Chevy will have some testimonial ads touting its “best lineup” ever.

And say goodbye to Tim Allen as the voice of Chevy advertising. He was thrown out with the “Chevy Runs Deep” ad tag that lived for a little over two years, created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. That’s OK, you can still hear the actor narrating ads for Campbell’s Soup. You’re now hearing John Cusack doing Chevrolet ad voice overs.

The second spot out there with the “Find New Roads” ad tag is for the 2013 Chevy Traverse.

Check out how the ad shows seating for 8, whether they are real or imaginary

Sorry, Chevy and Commonwealth, but this ad is awful close to Kia’s 2010 Super Bowl commercial for the Sorento, showing the critters from kids’  popular cable TV show Yo Gabba Gabba come to life

It certainly looks like Chevrolet and Commonwealth stole the idea from Kia and their ad agency DavidandGoliath. These sort of coincidences happen from time to time in this business. There was one season in the ’90s when 2 or 3 different car brands featured grocery store parking lots and shopping carts in their commercials.

The longer you’ve been in this business, the more examples of these coincidences you see. Here’s another one, this time it’s Kia, which in recent weeks broke a national spot for the 2014 Sorento. Check out how Kia touted the crossover’s power-folding mirrors and programmable power lift gate in a tight parking space

Of course lots of people would never jam their $23,000-to$33,000 new vehicle into such a tight spot. This Big Idea isn’t so fresh. Check out this commercial from WPP’s JWT (now TeamDetroit) for the 2000-model Ford Focus

And so it goes. If you’ve got any to add, please leave a comment and thanks for taking the time to read AutoAdOpolis.

MAKING TRACKS: General Motors has shifted Craig Bierley from ad director for Buick GMC to the same post at Cadillac. Craig, a Michigan native, has been with GM for 22-plus years, starting there as a financial analyst. He succeeds Molly Peck, who was moved last fall from the Caddy post to USA ad director of Chevrolet. The merry-go-round continues over there.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Forbes.com

and on Twitter @jhal2001


Some Hits, Some Misses at Toyota Motor

 Toyota Motor Sales USA certainly seems to be rocking and rolling again after several years in the barrel.

The bleak years, lest we forget, were marked by massive recalls, embarrasing Congressional hearings, federal fines, red ink, then compounded by last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Despite lots of dire predictions, the the sky didn’t crash in on the automaker. Toyota, Scion & Lexus are now back in favor with Americans.

The automaker reported selling 1.399 million Toyotas and Scions in the first 8 months of 2012 vs. just 1.07 million a year ago. Lexus sales were up almost 25% in the same period to 150,604 units.

That’s still not as good as the first 8 months of 2007, when the OEM sold 1.569 million Toyotas and Scions, plus 220,000 Lexus vehicles. To be fair the whole industry has been in a funk in the USA for several years. These days, Toyota Motor is motoring right along.

Over the years, the automaker’s advertising hasn’t been much to crow about. The three brands have sold lots of new vehicles IN SPITE of their so-so advertising. But there’s a couple of bright spots of late.

Let’s start with Lexus, which has used some of the most mind-numbing ads in the luxury car segment pretty much since this new century has started. That’s such a shame for the brand that bowed in the ’80s with some of the industry’s most memorable ads. Remember the champagne glasses balancing quietly on the idling car’s hood?

For the launch of the new 2013 ES and first ES Hybrid comes this gem, called “Split World”

Bravo! This commercial from longtime Lexus agency Team One is one of the best from the brand in a long time. It’s visually arresting, almost forcing you to watch. The montage portrays modernism, cool technology and luxury. And the whole premise actually make s sense: “Introducing a reason to look twice.” It’s not loaded with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo or list of features, which most people will just go online to find out anyway.

But Lexus isn’t quite out of the woods. How could a brand that got it so right with that spot get it so wrong with another ES launch commercial? Check this one out, dubbed “Future Unfolded”

Isn’t it amazing how different the two spots are? This one is simply lame. Lexus said this is one of 3 spots targeting African-Americans, Hispanics and the LGBT crowds. This commercial tries too hard to be cool and young- two words not readily associated with Lexus. Why are all those young folks inside the ES and dancing around it? One place the Lexus ES won’t be taking these hip people is to a night club. They are no where near in age to the actual Lexus owner base.

You can’t fool people about this either. One sharp YouTuber noted: “That’s funny…I didn’t see any old people” in this ad.

The scrip writing is forced in this commercial. especially this line from the narrator, actor Jim Remar, “with technology and style to match your achievements and desires.” Whoa! That’s quite lofty and presumptuous of Lexus to think it knows what people’s desires are. Those lines are just wasting time and space in the ad.

Lexus is taking a page from its younger cousin Scion with a social media push reaching out to start-up innovators, offering four of them each the chance to get $100,000 in seed money for their products. Voting is on a custom Facebook app.

The ES also becomes the first car with a brand page on mobile Flipboard. This is a smarter way to reach a younger audience.

OK. Let’s move onto the Toyota brand.

It’s been a while since Toyota has done any meaningful national advertising for its full-size Tundra pickup. Back in 2007, Toyota spent more that $100 million to launch the then-redone, more competitive Tundra in hopes of selling 200,000 that year. At the time that was Toyota’s biggest-ever launch.

But Tundra still takes a back seat to Detroit’s truck iron, selling only 65,600 Tundras in the first 8 months of 2012.

Toyota is beating the drums again for the pickup, starting with a multi-media push this month about how the Tundra will tow “an American icon live before the whole world” on Oct. 13.

Yup, the Tundra will haul the space shuttle Endeavour for the last leg of its trip from Los Angeles International Airport on city streets to the California Science Center. It’s a big deal since a stock, 1/2-ton, 2012 Tundra CrewMax will be used to tow the 145-ton shuttle.

Toyota’s ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, handled the deal with the Science Center to show off the Tundra’s toughness and towing abilities.

Here’s the promo, just one of lots of videos for the effort


Toyota is encouraging people to follow the Tundra’s adventure online at http://www.toyota.com/TundraEndeavour. People can sign up for e-mail updates. Toyota will donate $50 to the Science Center for every Tweet on Twitter about the tow.

There’s just one little detail that’s almost glossed over in Toyota’s hype about this feat. The pickup is only going to tow the space shuttle the last quarter mile of its 12-mile trip to the Science Center!!

Doesn’t all this hoopla seem a bit too much for that?

Meantime, the Toyota Division just announced it is dropped its “Moving Forward”  ad tag after 8 years. That’s great news! That line was nothing but a corporate-driven theme from on high that really had little to do with the brand. Not only that, it’s generic and could have been used for lots of car brands.

I’ll bet 9 out of 10 Americans could NOT identify “Moving Forward” as Toyota’s ad tag since 2004, even after millions of dollars of advertising. Get this: back in 2004, Toyota exec Jim Lentz admitted that the brand’s “Oh, what a feeling”  tag, which showed owners jumping for joy, had the most consumer awareness at the time. Makes you wonder why they dropped it in 1986 after 6 years.

Toyota’s new line, “Let’s Go Places,” will bow late this year.

Is it me or does that line also sound very generic and interchangeable with other car brands? Hey, it could also be used for an airline or online travel site for that matter.

Toyota Division’s Bill Fay, group VP-general manager, gave this reasoning, saying the new tag “speaks to the evolution of Toyota and our commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define.” He called the tag “energetic, aspirational, inclusive and very versatile” and added “the phrase conveys a dual meaning of physically going places and taking off on an adventure, while also expressing optimism and the promise of exciting innovations that enriches people’s lives.”


I’ll have what he’s having.

It would be better to have NO tag than one that isn’t directly relevant to your brand and only your brand.

But here’s something Toyota IS doing right.  lt has taken testimonial ads to a new level with its new Camry Effect blitz that includes this site at http:/toyota.com/camryeffect

Billed as “Real Owners. Real Stories,” the site is loaded with tons of great input from actual owners. The site has interesting factoids: 79% of Camry owners know how to change a tire and 82% prefer an automatic. Camry has some of the most loyal owners in the industry and millions of them.

Toyota actually introduced the “Camry Effect” social media site a year ago as part of the launch for the redone 2012 model. But back then, the site was more of a stand-alone, really just the digital part of the Camry’s multi-media launch. Toyota figured out earlier this year a better way to marry the fan site with its more traditional media. Here’s the latest TV spot that arrived this month

Testimonial ads are nothing new in car advertising, but THIS is smart advertising and sets the bar for the industry.

(This post appeared recently in CNW’s monthly, subscriber-only newsletter)

MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to Kathy Speck, who joined Chevrolet’s ad agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, as associate creative director. Chevy Runs Deep for Speck, who spent 26 years at Campbell-Ewald working as a creative on Chevrolet and other brands before she started doing work for McCann in 2011 as a freelance creative.

MORE TRACKS: General Motors moved Molly Peck back to Chevrolet as US ad director from the same post at Cadillac for about 18 months. We have high hopes for Peck, who oversaw Cadillac’s most interesting advertising in a few years – for the ATS launch. Before her move to Caddy last year, Peck was Chevy’s national ad manager for 4 years, but her experience at the bow-tie brand includes assistant brand manager of marketing for the now-defunct Cavalier.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Forbes.com

On Twitter: @jhal2001

MINI Drives into Television

Since arriving back in the USA nine years ago, MINI hasn’t spent a lot on television advertising. And compared to larger automakers, MINI hasn’t spent much at all in measured media- well under $40 million annually- the amount the big guys can easily spend just launching a single new model.
But this year the BMW-owned brand is shaking up its media plans and pushing into television.
Tom Salkowsky, MINI’s marketing manager since December, told me the brand will keep its “heavy pace” of TV advertising that started this year with its first Super Bowl appearance and continue through the rest of the year.
How heavy, you might wonder?
Salkowsky says MINI had more than 4,000 TV spots in the first quarter alone.
Salkowsky, who has been with BMW since 1997, says moving into TV now lets MINI communicate to a larger audience and gets the word out about the bigger Countryman model.
The best of the bunch by far is this one, called “Flow,” as part of the launch of the new Countryman

This commercial is pure MINI. Filmed in Milan, Italy it captures the European flavor of the car, its sense of adventure and fun-to-drive nature. It grabs your attention. Bravo to BSUR in Amsterdam, MINI’s global agency, to the agency’s Creative Director Jason Schragger and the clients for recognizing exceptional work. This commercial also ran in lots of other markets worldwide. You can check out a “behind the scenes” look at how CG was used to make “Flow” here

BSUR also created :15s for the Countryman launch in this country that were getting heavy play on TV here in the first quarter. Here’s one called “Flight Attendant”

Not as impactful as “Flow,” but gets the point across that the Countryman is bigger than the original MINI model, has four doors and all-wheel drive.
Makes you wonder where this leaves MINI’s US creative shop, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, California.
Salkowsky says Butler, Shine is still plenty busy doing all MINI’s collateral, events, point of purchase stuff and media planning. (IPG’s Universal McCann buys MINI USA’s national and spot TV and radio).
Okay. But there’s no arguing that BSUR’s work is heads and shoulders above MINI’s 2011 Super Bowl commercial for the Countryman, dubbed “Cram it in the Boot”

Butler, Shine totally missed the mark with this spot. We get the “boot” joke, but bet there’s lots of Americans who don’t know this is the Brits’ word for car trunk. The spot is an embarrassment for the brand and a total waste of ad dollars. It was crass and not relevant to the brand – just bad advertising.
Then again- the client approved it.
MINI isn’t abandoning other mediums. It had a massive, nine-panel outdoor in Times Square for the Countryman that faced three city streets

MINI at 42nd St & 7th Ave

That just came down recently, after getting 40-million-plus impressions for each of the two months it was up.
MINI, known for events, is also considering driving events pitting the Countryman against key rivals, including the VW Tiguan, Kia Soul and Suzuki SX4.
Something MINI USA is doing seems to be working because the brand reported that its new car sales jumped by 41% in the first quarter to 12,241 units.

NEW ROADS: Congrats to Molly Peck, the new ad director at Cadillac, succeeding Kim Brink. Peck had been Chevrolet’s national ad manager since February 2007.