Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"Let's be bonest....."

"Let's be honest" is the marketing equivalent of "the check is in the mail" and "I won't cum in your mouth." You know what's coming next is going to be anything but honest. So what's the first thing you hear in the first GM ad since declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy?
"Let's be completely honest...."
Better and brighter minds than me have made the point that the ad is shite. It looks like a last-minute, done-on-the-cheap made for YouTube project. More than that, it goes to show they still don't get it. "Eight different brands"? "Cost structure"? How about they built a company around expensive, big, inefficient vehicles that became toxic when gas prices went north of three bucks a gallon? In the short run the vehicles were very profitable, but given the realities of the energy market it was obvious they couldn't sustain the business for very long. Down the product line cars like the Cobalt and the Korean-built Aveo were less than inspiring. If you aren't interested in an SUV or a Cadillac STS, you are not going to be interested in GM. You can reduce the number of brands and bring the cost structure into line, but if you continue to build crap that nobody wants to buy, you're still going to go out of business.

There's a bigger problem with the spot. It's tone deaf. It's got a, "I'm going to tell you how it's going to be" feel, but it forgets who it's talking to. GM just reached into America's pockets and pulled out $60 Billion. Sixty billion works out to over $200 from every man, woman and child in the USA. The US owns 60% of GM. Canada and the United Auto Workers are major stakeholders as well. If not for us, GM would be no more, and there is nothing in the spot that acknowledges that fact. It seems General Motors doesn't get that it's not just talking to it's customers, it's talking to the owners as well. Don't forget that most of those owners are reluctant at best. We didn't want to be in this position, most of us are very unhappy about it and right now we are doubtful GM management can do anything to reverse the situation. That spot does nothing to assuage that doubt.
"The only chapter we're focused on, is Chapter One."
That last line is the most troubling. A clever turn of the phrase that says, "Chapter 11 is in the past, we're not worried about that. We're looking forward." That's not a bad position to take with consumers. It's an awful position to take with your stockholders. In exchange for $60B secured only by your toilet-paper stock, they damn well better be concerned with digging their/our asses out of Chapter 11.

This is a largely unprecedented situation. How do you position your brand when you customer is also a reluctant owner? If they were to be completely honest, the spot wouldn't start with some cliche that no one really believes. It would start with two words: "We're sorry."

1 comment:

adchick said...

Excellent! Well said!!!! You really got my attention with "I promise I wont cum in your mouth." :)