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Super Bowl Ad Watch: Ford Protests GM's Chevy Apocalypse Commercial

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 5, 2012 03:31 PM

General Motors CMO Joel Ewanick tweeted that his Super Bowl Sunday got off to a surprising start: "Woke today with letter from Ford asking Chevy to pull 2012 Super Bowl ad. Really! We stand by our longest-lasting most dependable truck."

Turns out that Ford sent a letter to GM and NBC demanding that the commercial, which shows Chevy Silverado owners surviving the apocalypse while their Ford truck-owning buddy doesn't make it, be pulled.Continue reading...

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Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Rainn Wilson for Chevy, 50 Cent for Suzuki, a Kia Fantasy and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 2, 2012 12:56 PM

Just when it seemed that almost every Super Bowl ad already had been revealed or teased, brand marketers' buzz machines continue revving up. GM is promoting their Super Bowl XLVI spots on Chevy's YouTube channel — including talking insects on a Chevy Sonic and Volt-enchanted aliens, which you can watch below — with YouTube-only clips with Rainn Wilson encouraging fans to share, engage and vote for their favorite spots.Continue reading...

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Volkswagen Leads January U.S. Auto Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2012 04:44 PM

U.S. auto sales continued their nice recovery in January overall, by 11 percent over a year earlier, as a number of brands extended their own surges — and some fell back a bit.

The biggest winners when industry sales were announced today were Volkswagen, whose January sales were a whopping 48% ahead of last January, and Chrysler, which reported a 44% year-over-year gain. Chrysler credited its recent spate of 16 all-new or significantly refreshed products, while Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning pointed out that the brand's "growth strategy continues to take root."

Also posting healthy double-digit gains were brands including Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Hyundai.

Perhaps more interesting, though, is that Nissan, Honda and Toyota all reported significant increases in sales for January over a year earlier: 10 percent, 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively. While those numbers don't seem very impressive per se, what is significant is that they represent gains over the brands' pre-tsunami performances. So these are very positive indicators for the Japanese brands as they complete their comebacks from the March 11 natural disaster of last year.Continue reading...

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Chevy Volt Ready to Recharge

Posted by Dale Buss on January 31, 2012 02:02 PM

Don't expect General Motors CEO Dan Akerson to go meekly back to Flyover Country after his resolute defense of the Chevrolet Volt before Congress last week. His appearance will rank as the high-water mark for the car's critics, not for the car.

The appeal of Volt to American consumers is poised to begin rising again. There's a new federal imprimatur on its crash-worthiness. GM will use its new marketing campaign, including on Super Bowl Sunday, to get out a fresh and upbeat message about Volt. And gasoline prices will likely start rising again, at least for seasonal reasons, as spring approaches, meaning that American consumers will be taking a closer look once again at what they shell out at the pump after about a year of relative stability, though at about $3.50 a gallon.Continue reading...

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Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Audi, GM, Hyundai Game Plans Tip Their Strategies

Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2012 05:38 PM

One of the fascinating things about Super Bowl advertising is that the decisions around it offer a microcosmic look at big-picture branding strategies.

That's certainly the case in the auto industry, where like other brands, the "regulars" seem to keep coming back year after year. General Motors, Hyundai and Audi, for instance, certainly approach the Big Game strategically. And their decisions for Super Bowl XLVI provide interesting insights into their overall thinking behind brand strategy these days.

General Motors will have Chevrolet dominating its Super Bowl advertising, as usual, this time with a total of seven Chevy spots before, during and after the game, including a spot by aspiring commercial director Zack Borst resulting from the brand's Route 66 contest.Continue reading...

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Volt Revolt: Chevy Dealers Spurn GM Allocations, While Hill May Grill Akerson

Posted by Dale Buss on January 24, 2012 01:01 PM

Just when General Motors executives were hoping they finally had gotten the Chevrolet Volt back on dry pavement, other obstacles have arisen: a mini-mutiny among some Chevy dealers who don't want to be stuck attempting to sell the battered plug-in hybrid brand, and the fact that GM CEO Dan Akerson is geting hauled in front of a congressional committee on Wednesday to testify about Volt.

On Friday, Volt received a clean bill of safety from the federal-government agency that had launched an investigation into some weird post-crash fire problems with Volt's battery, which occurred not on the road but within the testing procedures by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM had stepped up uncommonly during the investigation, offering to let Volt owners borrow another GM car and coming up with a safety "fix" even though its engineers belived it redundant in a design that already was safe.

GM is eager to rebuild Volt's tarnished image and get back to addressing more basic problems with Volt, which include not making or selling nearly as many as they had hoped a year ago. On Monday, for example, the automaker announced that Volt owners "may soon get charged with renewable energy" via GM's OnStar unit.

One spanner in GM's Volt image makeover plans: some Chevy dealers are turning down allocations of Volt that GM wants to ship to them, according to Automotive News. In New York, for example, GM allocated 104 Volts to four dealerships, but only 31 were accepted — the lowest "take" rate for any Chevy model in the market that month.Continue reading...

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Super Bowl Ad Watch: Go Daddy Shows Some Leg, Other Brands Tip Their Hands

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2012 06:05 PM

One of the most predictable things about Super Bowl advertising over the last few years is that GoDaddy.com runs a sexy spot and then everyone debates whether it was effective, while agreeing that at least it was provocative.

This very predictability explains why Go Daddy tries to get the buzz going early, and has leaked the first of its two Super Bowl XLVI commercial, above. Called "Body Paint," it features returnees Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels and a "nude" model and promotes its .CO domain, which was announced during last year's Super Bowl. The second spot, titled "Cloud," features Danica Patrick and the Pussycat Dolls.

But some other brands, notably autos, are still playing things closer to the vest about their Super Bowl plans.Continue reading...

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Super Bowl Ad Tracker: GoDaddy, Chevy and Priceline Build Buzz

Posted by Dale Buss on January 20, 2012 01:45 PM

In that grand old Super Bowl tradition, GoDaddy.com will be back this year with a (surprise!) racy spot, featuring celeb endorsers Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels, and a 'nude' model. "We set the standard of indecency," jokes a winking Bob Parsons, GoDaddy's outspoken CEO, to USA Today. "My ads never suggest the act of sex. Any sex in the ads is manufactured in the minds of the viewers."

Chevrolet, meanwhile, wants to draw game viewers even closer — to its brand and products that the GM division is advertising during the telecast, as well as to the Big Game itself. It's also looking for a way to punch out of the huge gaggle of car brands and ads that have insinuated themselves into Super Bowl XLVI on February 5.

So Chevy will be promoting its new Chevy Game Time App, which will allow viewers of the Super Bowl to play trivia, interact with one another via Twitter, participate in polls relating to the game and teams and Super Bowl ads, and possibly win one of 20 Chevrolets or thousands of other prizes as a result.

"This is the first time any company has attempted such a large-scale app, which will enhance the game-watching experience and help them engage in the online conversation about the Super Bowl," said Joel Ewanick, GM's global CMO. Continue reading...

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