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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 5, 2012 04:04 PM
General Motors today took what it hopes is a big step toward keeping the Chevrolet Volt brand on track, announcing its promised "quick fix" to a design flaw that led some of the car's battery packs to catch fire days or weeks after they were damaged in government safety tests.
The move comes just weeks after the problem led to a federal investigation, its relative speediness testifying to the tremendous long-term importance that has been attached to the success of Volt, a so-called plug-in hybrid that can be powered entirely either by its battery pack or by a small gasoline engine, a significant wrinkle compared with electric-only vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf.
GM is adding a tamper-resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to prevent potential coolant overfill, to "further protect" the battery against the kinds of damage in question. The company noted that Volt remains a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and executives have remarked that Volt is as safe as any other vehicle. Today's announcement was aimed at going "the extra mile to ensure our customers' peace of mind," said Mary Barra, GM's vice president of global product development.
Volt could use some steadying. The nameplate sold 1,529 units in December, its best month, but many of those were sales to commercial fleets, not retail customers, Alan Batey, head of the Chevrolet division, told journalists. And total sales of fewer than 7,700 Volts for the year fell far short of GM's projection of 10,000 sales in the car's first year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 4, 2011 02:02 PM
Chevrolet's future is increasingly global, as the brand chalks up big sales of its new Cruze compact sedan in China, for example, and as General Motors leadership plots ways to extend Chevy further in Europe, where Opel has always been its reigning small-car brand. But for right now, at least, Chevrolet is All-American.
A year after the whole "Chevy vs. Chevrolet" naming flap, GM is wrapping up a weeks-long celebration of the brand's centennial with the showing of a new documentary film, Chevy 100, An American Story, at the Detroit Institute of Arts in downtown Detroit.
The film premiered on the centennial, November 3rd, as Chevy celebrated selling its one millionth Cruze. The New York premiere is on November 14th, after which it will be shown on Discovery's new Velocity Channel.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 31, 2011 08:59 AM
Alfa Romeo launches Aquabatics social campaign.
AOL plays catch-up in mobile.
Buick is paying dividends for GM.
CNN said to be revamping its morning lineup.
DirecTV takes dispute with Fox to the web.
Disney leads big brands on apps front, while Disney-ABC extends Netflix and Amazon content deals.
DreamWorks' Puss in Boots wins the weekend box office by a whisker.
Facebook changes mean "reach" is up but "frequency" is down.Continue reading...