General Motor's Chariman sounds off on the state of GM, its current
advertising campaigns, and the direction he wants them to go. Agree or
disagree with his points?
Truth is Bob Lutz can turn around GM advertising no problem because
it's been sooo bad for sooo long, I could do it. (Ad Age did an
article where a former GM exec called GM out for their staid
advertising). Pre-bankruptcy, GM spent so much on endorsing events
(football, NASCAR, golf, etc.) instead of improving products or
communicating improvements—essentially protecting an eroding and
shifting base—it's difficult to see how they can go wrong when it's
completely clear that things need to change completely.
As a GM insider, he's poised to take the tenor of advertising in a new
direction but all along, I've been suspect of him and thought that one
of the best prospects for change at GM was showing him the door…
Not to mention the odd statements the article claims he's made, Lutz
went on 60 Minutes last year and claimed he didn't believe global
warming. Now this isn't a foray to get into that debate (there are
some scientists out there who question the exact nature of global
warming). But more importantly, as a "car guy" why would he go on
there and try to make a point like that knowing everyone would call
him an idiot next? I mean it's 60 Minutes.
GM suffers from way too many insiders who suspect that they just have
to change the facade of the buildings to really be the company they
once were not understanding that the industry is no longer the
industry it once was. Much of the change needed could be captured in
the microcosm of all the car execs flying down to congress in
corporate jets, instead of having a little humility (a little touch)
and recognizing what they were doing by asking for money when looking
"glam" themselves. I don't think that Lutz can make that change not
because of age but because of who he is: "GM establishment."
The best GM happy ending I've heard recently was talking to a guy who
mounted my tires. He swore by GM saying "you can get GM parts
anywhere." Well, that's a selling point I've never, never heard GM
say. Though it's true at least in middle America.
Instead of relying like they had on being the default car, they need
to take a page out of Honda, Toyota, VW and increasingly Hyundai and
remember to try and become the default car of choice. And communicate