A new General Motors ad campaign is breaking Monday and it will star the company’s “untainted” Chairman Edward Whitacre, Jr. Says Bob Lutz, GM’s new chief marketing officer, Mr. Whitacre isn’t sullied the way other executives who went through the chapter 11 process are. Mr. Whitacre, for all his folksiness and warm southern manner is, I’m sure, a very nice person but he was also the CEO of AT&T. I repeat AT&T. That makes him untainted? That makes him believable? Plus, he’s only been on the job for a cup of coffee.
The problem with GM for the last 7 years has been leadership. No one looked around and noticed we needed to move America toward a smaller generation of cars. Management sat 40 floors up in Detroit and couldn’t see the street. So rather than highlight a past GM ivory tower spokesperson, the ad agency or Mr. Lutz decided to use a “phone” guy to deliver the message. Absurd!
These ads will appeal to corporate turn-around artists with million dollar salaries, all 40 of them, but not to the man or woman on the street. The new ads and the very smart “money back guarantee” should have been delivered by a line worker; someone we could empathize with. Someone with skin in the game…with a blood-pumping heart. Someone from down on the street. GM marketing is still fairy well out of touch. Come on down!