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LaNeve disappointed with Chevrolet advertising

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LaNeve to Campbell-Ewald: Fix Chevy's Ads
Auto News: GM Marketing Chief Applies Pressure as Sales Slip
By Jamie LaReau
Link to Original Article @ AdAge


DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- General Motors Corp. marketing chief Mark LaNeve is sending a blunt message to Chevrolet's long-standing ad agency, Campbell-Ewald: Fix Chevy's car ads.

In an interview with Automotive News, Mr. LaNeve said he wants to push Chevrolet cars as a "smart choice" offering a better price than its Asian rivals -- and comparable quality, too.

Communicating brand benefits

"You're paying a premium" with Japanese cars, Mr. LaNeve said. "You're not getting better quality, you're not getting better performance, you're not getting better fuel economy -- you're just paying a premium. We have got to get that communicated."

Mr. LaNeve said he has asked Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper and Campbell-Ewald to improve the Chevrolet car ads. His comments appear to be raising the pressure on Mr. Peper -- and Bill Ludwig, the agency's chief creative officer.

Through May, Chevrolet sold 333,420 cars, down 0.6% compared with the year-ago period. Through that same period, Chevrolet truck sales were off 4.6%.

Analysts blame the falling truck sales on high gasoline prices and a decline in the truck segment rather than on the brand's truck ads.

Could jolt ad industry

Mr. LaNeve's wake-up call seems likely to send shock waves through the advertising community. Last year Chevrolet spent $756 million on advertising, more than any other GM brand. With that kind of spending comes pressure.

Campbell-Ewald has handled Chevrolet's advertising since 1922. And in recent years it has created such memorable spots as Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" truck ads, "An American Revolution," the "Heartbeat of America" tagline and Chevy's current "This Is Our Country" campaign for the Silverado pickup.

But Mr. LaNeve has proved to be willing to shake up longstanding business relations. Last year Campbell-Ewald lost a piece of its Chevrolet business to Deutsch, Los Angeles. Deutsch handled negotiations for Chevrolet's 2006 Major League Baseball and motorsports ad campaigns.

Interview with agency nixed

Campbell-Ewald's Mr. Ludwig was willing to discuss his agency's work, but Chevrolet vetoed the interview and refused to make any car executives available.

Last June, Mr. LaNeve fired Cadillac's ad agency, Leo Burnett Detroit, and hired Modernista to do Cadillac's creative work. Leo Burnett had held the Cadillac account since 1935.

Burnett created Cadillac's "Breakthrough" spot featuring Led Zeppelin music that fueled Cadillac's turnaround and propelled Mr. LaNeve, then Cadillac's general manager, into the upper reaches of GM management. Yet Mr. LaNeve pulled the plug on Burnett once the Cadillac ads had grown stale.
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Personally I think the newer Cadillac ads aren't as good as the ones with the old agency.

Mr. LaNeve said he wants to push Chevrolet cars as a "smart choice" offering a better price than its Asian rivals -- and comparable quality, too.

You're not getting better quality, you're not getting better performance, you're not getting better fuel economy -- you're just paying a premium.

It should directly say that in the ads too, no more being soft.

Campbell-Ewald's Mr. Ludwig was willing to discuss his agency's work, but Chevrolet vetoed the interview and refused to make any car executives available.

This I wonder about. Why would you not want to discuss teh ads if you are wanting change? Sounds like a formula for bad relations...that doesn't bring about improvement.

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Amazing that some of these agencies have held the accounts so tremendously long.

I had remembered that McManus held the Cadillac account for decades... must be thinking of another division.

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I hope this means that Chevy and Saturn (or another brand) won't share commercials anymore, a la Memorial Day sale ads. Not only was the rendition of "You Are My Sunshine" obscenely irritating, they were on every third commercial. Overkill much?

Chevy's print ads are ok, the one thing they've definitely got going for them is the photography.

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I hope this means that Chevy and Saturn (or another brand) won't share commercials anymore, a la Memorial Day sale ads. Not only was the rendition of "You Are My Sunshine" obscenely irritating, they were on every third commercial. Overkill much?

Chevy's print ads are ok, the one thing they've definitely got going for them is the photography.

God, those are horrible. They just show a POS Impala LS, wheelcovers and all, driving on a treadmill in front of some screen. No creative energy at all.

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God, those are horrible. They just show a POS Impala LS, wheelcovers and all, driving on a treadmill in front of some screen. No creative energy at all.

It was cute for President's Day...for about 30 seconds.
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The first "American Revolution" ads were cool:

The car carrier ad (which is now been beaten to death)

The SSR 'Holy Sh!t" ad

The banned Corvette commercial

The Cobalt/Corvette "Sibling Rivalry" ads

The Cobalts playing ball.

They've lost their way. Most Chevy commercials I see now are the typical stock footage/Deal of the Month voiceover ads

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The first "American Revolution" ads were cool:

The car carrier ad (which is now been beaten to death)

The SSR 'Holy Sh!t" ad

The banned Corvette commercial

The Cobalt/Corvette "Sibling Rivalry" ads

The Cobalts playing ball.

They've lost their way. Most Chevy commercials I see now are the typical stock footage/Deal of the Month voiceover ads

Those were all great commercials, especially the sibling rivalry one was cute.

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This is excellent!

Chevrolet should not be OBLIGATED to stick with this agency just because of their history together. In fact, I'd say just change the damn account for the sake of change; 80 years worth of working together probably has STALE written all over it. Better yet; just shake up ALL of the accounts for the sake of new energy.

Chevrolet hasn't had a decent commercial in this market in a long time... (The "Our Country" ads are decent, but not earth shattering and certainly NOT as good as the Toyota Tundra ads.) Pontiac's marketing has gotten better but it still isn't that impressive, yet more impressive than Buick's. GMC generally has good marketing, as does Hummer. I don't think I've seen a Saab commercial in years and NOTE TO GM: the new Saturn marketing sucks and the new Cadillac ads are so bad that they could be considered a crime against GM, the division itself nd possibly america in general.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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GM should hire whoever did the Tundra ads, I think. While I don't much care for them because of the obvious BS in some (falling box that by the laws of physics could not be stopped by a Tundra) they're bold and aren't afraid to say anything. GM needs something like that for the new Malibu (comparing it to the CamCord). For instance: the Camry in Chevy showrooms is a start, but the ads must be just as bold. If the Malibu gets better mileage, say "Camry and Accord get X MPG, you wanted X+Y, and we gave it to you." "You wanted a little flavor to go with your ice cream, so we didn't give you vanilla." "You wanted a 6-speed auto with your fuel-sipping engine, not 5-speeds like the competition." etc etc. Target the CamCord directly, show why the Malibu is better, don't say for instance, "The Malibu gets an impressive X+Y MPG" and fail to mention that the CamCord gets only X, or "introducing the stylish new Malibu" without showing how damn bland the CamCord is, or "available with a 6-speed automatic to save fuel" without mentioning the CamCords only have 5-speeds on their 4-cyls. The latter statements I made would be the current Chevy marketing, and the first statements need to reflect the new.

The same thing should be done with all of GM's commercials. Why do none of the Lambda ads mention how they getting better MPG than the Pilot? Why are the T900 ads so inoffensive to anyone (unlike the Tundra commercials)? Why are the Aura ads still "we are the nice folks at Saturn and we're passing our trophy around do everyone" and don't communicate that Saturn is a newly reborn brand with different, competitive products? I thought Saturn is "like never before" but the ads are still the touchy-feely "we're nice here" kind.

The Camaro damn well better lay the smackdown on the Mustang, too. No sissy BS that doesn't target the Mustang at all, though I'm sure it will. An idea just popped into my mind, actually: What if the husband is going out to pick up his new Mustang, and says "bye honey, I'm going to pick up my new car," and while he's gone wifey goes and picks up her new Camaro (which husband doesn't know about)... (this next part is hazy, not sure exactly how it would be done) Somehow both cars are in the garage at the same time, and the Camaro scares the Mustang $h!less (perhaps the Mustang "pees its pants"). Then the voiceover says something to the effect of, "don't you want your muscle car to... ______________?" (don't know what to say exactly, but I think considering I'm not majoring in marketing the marketing people could figure something out if I've shown this much creativity in one post).

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I hope this means that Chevy and Saturn (or another brand) won't share commercials anymore, a la Memorial Day sale ads. Not only was the rendition of "You Are My Sunshine" obscenely irritating, they were on every third commercial. Overkill much?

Chevy's print ads are ok, the one thing they've definitely got going for them is the photography.

Wasn't that "Hail to the Chief"?
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In an interview with Automotive News, Mr. LaNeve said he wants to push Chevrolet cars as a "smart choice" offering a better price than its Asian rivals -- and comparable quality, too.

Another thing... I thought GM is starting to charge more as they close the product gap with new releases. A better theme is probably "better cars at the same price", as evidenced by products like the Lambdas and GMT900s. The only cheap Chevys left are dated cars like the old Impala, Malibu, Uplander, Colorado... their "better" products are priced right with the competition.

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Wasn't that "Hail to the Chief"?

That was used for the President's Day versions of the same (similar) commercials....

Good to see the advertising area being "stepped up". About time they start touting the highlights/features of the cars themselves ... instead of highlighting incentives, etc.

Course ... with people concerned about high gas prices, I'm always a bit amused when I see a car or truck ad touting how fast the car being advertised can go from 0 to 60 ... a bit wasted gas there ;).

Cort:33swm."Mr Monte Carlo.Mr Road Trip".pig valve.pacemaker

PICS:lego.HO.model.MCinfo.RT.CHD = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort

"The story is between the lines" ... Dave & Sugar ... 'Golden Tears'

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I need to see two things in their ads:

Info-the how and why. (it's a better value)

and something funny.

That alone would help quite a bit...

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758 mill for 330,000 vehicles ain't much.

so, why not some cool ads like the Dr. Z campaign?

LOL

seriously, what puzzled me is why an 'American Revolution' campaign when clearly car buyers want to disassociate themselves from everything American? No wonder Chevy wants to dump them. The patriot act in ads is a negative think....possible exception, the new saturn ads, but that tagline may backfire too even though the ads themselves are top notch.

Chevy-our country ads ok, otherwise, overhaul.

pontiac-great ads, now where is the new product.

buick-drive beautiful should be a success. beyond precision was really dumb.

saturn-see above

cadillac-break through was awesome but had run its course. the life liberty pursuit stuff was dumb

GMC-i like the campaign and who they are targeting, but it is dull stuff. perfect for women buyers then.

Hummer-their campaign needs to ditch the ecofriendly BS. Hummers are tough go anywhere lifestyle vehicles. bears watching goldilocks in a hummer is not that.

saab-on the right path, but not yet flashy enough or image conscious enough. pretentious enough, not yet.

Mercury has good ads for women.

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I like the Life Liberty and the Pursuit, but they could tone it down a bit and use more patriotic music. The American Revoultion has been a home-run, and the Saturn re-think have been great. (Get Pontiac with them!) I think the new stuff is trying to be to hip and boyish. Honestly I liked the late 80's and early 90's stuff with the we build excitement tag-line and they made a 165hp Bonneville SSE look like a sports car!

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The Cobalt/Corvette "Sibling Rivalry" ads

That was indeed a cute ad. +1+1. Does anyone have a link to it? I would like to see it again.

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I think GM's ads are so timid because they're afraid the media would rip them a new ass if they tried to assault beloved Toyota.

I say we go after Toyotas throat... The only way to CHANGE perceptions is by smacking the people in the face with the new facts. ACTIONS speak louder than (politically correct) words.

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