By on May 11, 2010

Former Ford exec Ann Doyle sure seems to think so, penning an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press titled Another female auto executive bites the dust. Her thesis?

It took General Motors executive Susan Docherty 24 years of blistering hard work to build an impressive career in one of the toughest leadership laboratories for women: the global auto industry. It took GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre only six months to nearly destroy it.

Given how closely GM has embraced identity politics when it suits its purposes, Doyle’s suggestion is kind of a big deal. But is there anything to it?

Doyle’s problem with Docherty’s treatment is rooted in her relatively meteoric rise and equally rapid fall from grace.

Last December Docherty’s star was rising. Her promotion to VP of U.S. sales marked the first time in GM’s 101-year history that a woman held that key position. It was even bigger news when, following Bob Lutz’ retirement, Whitacre combined U.S. Sales, Service and Marketing into one gigantic job and named Docherty its new leader. The New York Times profiled her leadership style. GM touted her ascent as evidence of the culture change underway on Whitacre’s watch.

Less than three months after Docherty was put into the driver’s seat of a complex sales operation in crisis, Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, took half of her job away, naming Steve Carlisle VP of U.S. Sales. “We need change agents,” was Reuss’ explanation. Clearly Docherty wasn’t one of “his guys.” Then, on May 5th, she was publicly benched when GM hired Joel Ewanick from Nissan, naming him VP of U.S. Marketing. Docherty’s new position, according to the press release, would “be announced soon.” That’s code for having a bulls-eye on your forehead.

Of course this rise and fall pattern is hardly uncommon around GM, where the Peter Principle demands that a steady flow of executives be promoted to their level of incompetence and then fade away equally quickly. Being an auto exec is a tough, competitive job, especially at a time of unprecedented challenge for the industry. And Doyle acknowledges that Docherty is not exactly the only exec to be ushered from the RenCen’s inner sanctums in the last year… but she still thinks Docherty is getting a raw deal.

Insiders are saying Docherty is being blamed for GM’s disingenuous ads touting repayment of their federal loans. Really? Even if it was her idea, lawyers, ad execs, communications and governmental affairs staff and Whitacre himself signed off on every word he uttered on national TV. “My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the way they have publicly crucified her,” one former GM executive told me.

You might be thinking, “So what?” Dozens of executives have been broomed in GM’s long overdue housecleaning. But how many were publicly humiliated? CEOs Rick Wagoner and Fritz Henderson presided over nearly a decade of precipitous decline, yet, even after their firings their colleagues praised their leadership and vision. Why is Docherty being handled so differently?

Maybe because the Whitacre ad fiasco, which re-opened bloody wounds in GM’s PR image, was not her first cock-up. Docherty was previously excoriated for allowing the “Volt Dance” to make an internet laughing stock of GM, her Fastlane live chat performance left much to be desired, she was unable to face reality in regards to GM’s incentive levels, and her Chevy tagline “Excellence For Everyone” already smells of flop. Docherty humiliated herself for months before anyone in GM stepped up and did her the favor of relieving her of command. Of course, Doyle doesn’t exactly see Docherty’s canning in that positive light.

Women are still so rare at the top, particularly in the auto industry, that they are essentially on their own. Never “one of the guys”. No female peers around to provide powerful allies and strategic confidants when the going gets rough, which it always does.
Docherty wasn’t wrong for the job. The problem was she was a lone woman leading a crucial operating area in the testosterone saturated, white, American male culture that is the “new GM”. Women, harken! GM is sending a powerful signal to us as leaders, stockholders and new vehicles buyers that its only interest in us is in our purse.

Actually, Docherty was wrong for the job, and she’d been proving it ever since her promotion. Making her a symbol of working women and the challenges they face is a disservice to those working women, implying that they shouldn’t be evaluated on their performance like anyone else. It’s bad enough that Doyle glosses over Docherty’s incompetence, but doing so in order to say she was fired because of sexism is just pathetic. Perhaps if Ms Doyle read a little more TTAC, she’d know that Docherty is no more a martyr than Fritz Henderson, Mark Laneve, Rick Wagoner, or the other execs who were ousted before her.

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68 Comments on “Was Susan Docherty “Publicly Humiliated” Because She’s A Woman?...”


  • avatar

    No, it was because she’s a vapid moron who apparently knew how to play politics at the old GM but was finally recognized for what she is.

    She’s not the only ex-GMer who fits that description, either.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      “vapid moron” you say. With all due respect, Finfrock, What do you suppose Susan grossed in ,say the last 10 years?

      Compare it to your gross earnings.

      Just saying.

    • 0 avatar

      Well mikey, I’ve actually done OK, though I doubt I’ve made as much as Docherty. Besides, wages in corporate America are seldom proportional to competence, particularly at the higher exec levels.

      That said, I harbor no delusions I could do the job any better than Ms. D’oH!erty. Then again, I wasn’t hired to do the job. She was, and she failed utterly… first at Hummer, then Pontiac, and ultimately Gov’t Motors as a whole.

      Considering her proven track record of failure, as well as her vapid (oops, there’s that word again) comments about upcoming Buicks, I confidently stand by my earlier assessment of her skills.

    • 0 avatar
      Bunter1

      Not that I agree with Ron’s proposition Mikey, but since when does pay scale “prove” intelligence?

      I don’t remember any brands Susan was shilling ever going up long term.

      Come to think of it the whole corp (or as the CEO-in-Chief would have it “corpse”) is still shedding market share in spite of blooming fleet sales. A change here can’t hurt.

      Bunter

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      I think I know what Ron, TTAC and Susan’s other critics are trying to say, but I’ll put it in my more blunt and unique way of saying things. I don’t think anything’s wrong with Susan as a human being or even as a manager, but her perspective, her sensibilities and even the language she speaks is that of a corporate robot and not that of the typical American consumer or even a car enthusiast. She often speaks corporate gibberish that doesn’t resonate with the public and the marketing campaigns are fraught with this kind of tone-deafness. That’s why the Buick ads turning the Enclave into a movie star were such a flop; and why the Chevy ad show here featuring an urban spinster on a bad date don’t resonate; and why “Excellence for Everyone” sounds like a corporate mission statement.

      I will analogize this to current situation comedies on TV, most of which were not funny. Why aren’t they funny? In the old days, you had people from Vaudeville, with comedy in their blood –people who knew how to get a laugh– writing and producing these shows. Today, you have college-educated kids who are brilliant writers –probably much better technically than the writers of yore– who have the life experience of a child of privilege growing up in some sterile upper middle class suburb.

      What you need is an old-school marketer with the sensibilities of a huckster/promoter. Kind of what Rush Limbaugh is to radio or Roger Ailes is to Fox News or Bob Lutz/Bill Mitchell is to car design. This has nothing to do with politics, but it has to do with finding people who instinctively, in their blood, know what resonates with their audience. That’s where Susan was lacking and it is no knock against her. It is more a knock against the management at GM who all these years didn’t know that you don’t put the creative decisions of the company in the hands of non-creative people.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ bunter I don’t disagree with the decision to shuffle Ms Docherty.
      I do disagree with somebody who believes that thier keyboard gives them licence to personally asassinate,a highly educated and sucessfull lady.

      Maybe she was the wrong person for the job. Maybe Mr Whitacre is bringing some sorely needed accountability to the top of GM.

      I don’t believe we gain anything from personal attacks. However it does speak volumes of how small the mind,and other certain parts of thier anatomy,the attacker might have.

    • 0 avatar

      Now now, “mikey.” I don’t type anything on a keyboard I wouldn’t state in person. Especially when doing so under my real name.

      Evidence shows Ms Doh!erty to be incompetent, at best, in her attempts at marketing. The burden is on her, not anyone else, to prove those examples wrong.

      Getting publicly demoted isn’t a very good way to do that… especially when few are questioning the decision.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      Yep, gotta agree with that.

    • 0 avatar
      edsullivan

      I am a woman who’s been following this “chirping corporate bird” since she has repeatedly gone on our local talk radio spewing the most “publicly humiliating” things about the terminated dealers. I can’t speak out when she goes on WJR in Detroit because I have a gag order against doing so. I would love to tell our story and defend our family who spent decades building a very successful dealership and great reputation only to see it GIVEN to another “well connected” dealer. We are not the only ones and we are told to just be quiet and move along. Not matter what you think about dealers, exceptions to the rule of the “unethical dealer” are out there. If only our local press and politicians hadn’t just looked the other way. After months of reading and digging into many of the wrongful terminations of high performing dealerships I have to say that It is about d@mn time someone was hired that might have a clue and a heart. So much more to this story and I know I’ll get slammed for being a tad emotional but I AM a car GIRL after all…

  • avatar

    Poor girl. But perhaps she will become happy now, leaving such a “testosterone saturated” environment. BTW: What would be the antonym to that?

  • avatar
    obbop

    Maybe she insisted that all available interior and exterior color offerings were required to be complimentary with her make-up colors?

    Tongue-in-cheek comment based upon my personal experience with decades of female inanity and excessive amounts of irrational thinking combined with innate natural female tendencies to allowing emotionality free-reign, running roughshod over critical thinking skills and a general inability except for the relatively rare female whose critical thinking skills are not overwhelmed by feel-good warm-fuzzy emotions.

    One exception to the norm I personally recall was the retired 35-year Marine Corps registered nurse who stood behind me as I prepared to repel the potential intruder attempting to gain access late at night to the old folk’s home, likely to acquire narcotics.

    I held a club.

    She had sent the nurses into hiding and, as I looked behind me, she opened her purse showing the pistol within.

    When the cops appeared, with the potential entrant apparently having departed, the nurse and her purse disappeared leaving me to handle the cops.

    What a gal.

    She took it all in stride and the look in her eye and general demeanor told me any unallowed entrant would never have passed that gal and her pistol.

    Maybe USA females need a Marine drill instructor during at least one semester of high school to slap the little girl out of them.

    Corporate America and political correctness ain’t gonna do it.

  • avatar
    texlovera

    She had 24 friggin’ years at GM in a series of ever-higher paying positions. She wasn’t up to the last couple of jobs, and that seems pretty obvious. She is being re-assigned, maybe even eased out. Too bad.

    Just becuase you’re a “girl” doesn’t mean you get do-overs…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Doyle’s identification of Docherty as a “female” executive, with all the firsts that entails at GM, tags her as a potential victim or hero from the beginning, and demeans her professional qualities.

    If we assume that Ms. Docherty descent is due to sexism, then shall we assume her ascension was as well? This seems to be the natural conclusion of Doyle’s argument, and she does a disservice to Ms. Docherty by making such a case.

  • avatar
    william442

    Probably she violated one of GM’s myriad behavior rules. My guess it was the ” look busy even if you are not” rule. I know what happened when I did.

  • avatar
    postman

    Believe me, if Susan was in possession of the Brain That Could Save General Motors, she’d would still have her job. GM wants to make gazillions of dollars, and if she was the one that could help them pull off THAT trick, she would be CEO next week, whether she’s “just a woman” or not.

    • 0 avatar
      shortthrowsixspeed

      “The Brain That Could Save General Motors” . . . that’s like a griffin or a pegasus right? I think we studied that in Greek Mythology

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    GM is a political organization, not a business. Now even more than ever, what with Party operatives being appointed to Obama’s board.

    She simply was not as skilled at politics as she needed to be.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      No, she just wasn’t very good at marketing and probably had a contractual obligation that was cheaper to run out than to buy out. Given that Ewanick was reported as being contacted months ago, Susan’s days were likely numbered before the glue holding her nameplate to the door was dry.

      Not everything is a conspiracy.

  • avatar

    Oh puh-leeze. Ms. Docherty was not selling as many cars as her boss wanted her to sell, plain and simple. And this site, perhaps as much as – if not more than – any other site on the Internet (perhaps excepting Buickman’s generalwatch.com) has consistently lampooned GM’s marketing performance, or non-performance as the case may be.

    An apparently superior talent became available, and she was shown the door. But not even. She is still on the payroll, and they had nice things to say about her when she was removed from her current role.

    Finally, when a new CEO is in the picture, he or she likes to have his or her own people in place. Ditto new president (Reuss). Susan Docherty was part of the old guard and not put into her role by Whitacre and Reuss, so her leash may have been a bit shorter than their own person’s might have been. Not because she was a woman, but because she was Henderson’s person (and GM’s marketing sucks).

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    “With its proven success in other markets, we felt the time was right to bring the G3 into the BPG portfolio for our U.S. customers.” — Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC 2008. Perhaps it’s chauvinistic and unfair, but quotes like this are merely tolerable when corporation men do it. But when women do it you feel like the car company is trying to pull one over on you. I could probably sit here all day and come up with similar quotes from Karen Francis at Oldsmobile, Jill Ladjiak at Saturn, and probably a few others.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Mark Reuss is the male Susan Docherty.

    Lifer, Track record of failure and corresponding promotions, Old GM Arrogance.

    Also, if anyone still has the podcast of Autoline Detroit from several years ago, where Susan and her hangers on at Hummer declared that women were the only true keepers of the Hummer brand. If a man said that, he would have been drawn and quartered. Instead, Susan was promoted.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Well, to me it looks like at least one of those old white males at GM still have a pair. How difficult is it to fire a woman at this level? About as difficult as killing a spotted owl on national television and expecting you won’t have a badge at your doorstep.
    Usually those whom we dare not fire get promoted to some make work position until they retire. Personally I think she should be sent back to head up the Hummer division.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Feminism is a crock of shit.

  • avatar

    Sorry, I think she’s lasted that long BECAUSE she’s a woman.

    What GM needs are more people with a passion for the company’s rich history (think 1930-1970) with the ability to translate that passion into a marketable vision for its future. No more P&G refugees or anyone who can’t acknowledge what a screwed-up mess GM became from the 70′s thru the 90′s and will only let that happen again over their dead body.

    And what kind of GARBAGE is “Excellence for Everyone”?

    First, BUILD excellence for everyone for a few years (they’re making strides here), make the buying experience a little more customer-friendly and maybe you can EARN the right to use “Excellence for Everyone” as a positioning statement, something to back up a new version of “See the U.S.A.”, “Heartbeat of America” or some other slogan that expresses Chevrolet’s core values in a roll-off-the-tongue manner.

    There are some iconic brands like Coke and Pepsi that have a few iconic slogans that get dusted off and freshened every few years. “The Real Thing”, “Pepsi Generation”, “Pause That Refreshes” and so on. Maybe GM needs to try that path…whatever the case they need to get back to looking forward…the way they did back in the Motorama days. No apologies, no hand-wringing, no focus-grouping every decision to death. Be bold. Dare to build the best vehicles segment for segment. Back them up with a 100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 250,000 mile powertrain warranty. Show America that it’s a new day at GM.

    As Autoextremist Peter DeLorenzo would say, go big or go home.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    That’s the problem with hiring a woman to do a man’s job…when she sucks at it, and gets fired, she’s going to scream discrimination, or racism or some other ism, and then get millions of dollars to settle out of court.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    It has taken a little bit longer than I would have liked to seen it take to do the mandatory house cleaning at GM but it is almost accomplished. Male or female Docherty had to go. I highly doubt the fact that she is female was the cause of her demise. If that were the case how do you explain the departures of Wagoner and Henderson?

    As I recall Ann Doyle was on the engineering side at Ford versus Docherty being in the sales/marketing area. From a business perspective that would make Doyle completely unqualified to pass judgment on Docherty’s career accomplishments or lack thereof.

    At best I’d say Doyle’s assessment is misguided. At worst, clueless.

  • avatar
    midelectric

    To justify getting rid of the old guard when new management comes to town, often the undesirable old timers are given impossible tasks so their failure is justification for their subsequent dismissal.

    I think pumping GM sales in just a few months, after the humiliation of being publicly bailed out, with the same line-up of cars that led them into bankruptcy, counts as one of those tasks.

    It’s just the way things are done in some places, she should have saved herself the frustration and quit earlier.

  • avatar
    nevets248

    just like watching a slow motion train wreck. Her failures are right up there with Lynn Meyers and Karen Fisher, two other “fast-trackers” or career minded individuals that didn’t do s*it.

  • avatar

    @ stringray: that’s it, of course! But I think that such environments are tricky, as well, and not for the fainthearted (c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coco_Chanel). As an additional hardship she might not be able to show up in public with silly pink costumes.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Why do I think she’s so hot?

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    GIVE ME A BREAK!!

    I have very feminist views, and if this article is making me say that, then you know it has to be chock full of BS.

    Has this woman even read about any HUMMER ad that has aired in the past few years? Watch them on YouTube and then you will know why Mister Ed fired Docherty.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “testosterone saturated,white, American male culture”

    Ed Welburn would take offense to that generalization, as would Ralph Gilles.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      White isn’t a skin colour, it’s a state of mind.

      The lovely thing about that phrase is it’s equal parts egalitarian, racist and snarky.

  • avatar
    cardeveloper

    I watched incompetent females at another OEM complete meteoric rises up the ladder, completely bypassing common sense and jobs where real world skills are gained. I’d bet 100:1 that’s what happened to Docherty, in her rise to power, she never really learned how to do her job. Plus, any high level executives are at high risk with any new top level leadership. Having a shill whine about it is also not productive.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      I take issue that someone would call a woman with an MBA from Stanford, “incompetent”, but concur about the lack of “common sense and jobs where real world skills are gained”. This may have been a case of a job mismatch or perhaps not being completely honest in assessing her own strengths. MBAs are number crunchers and number crunchers are not usually a good fit in jobs that require creative or interpersonal skills. She should be given a job where she can crunch data to her heart’s content — that’s what MBAs do.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      I’ve seen the same happen to men with the right degrees from the right university. I’ve also seen men promoted out of field positions dealing with the public because they were so incompetent/dishonest that it was embarassing, but for some reason nobody would man up and fire them. This is not something peculiar to women only the accusations of sexism when the women falls flat on her ass.

  • avatar

    plain and simple, she was a failure.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Exactly. Just compare Ford’s choice for a pitchman vs. GM’s. Mike Rowe vs. Howie. Would you want to buy a car from a nice guy like Mike or an obnoxious insulting ex-football player. What were they thinking?

    • 0 avatar
      Runfromcheney

      Tell me about it. Mike Rowe actually talks to you and convinces you to give Ford a shot, while Howie Long just treated you like a vapid idiot for not driving GM’s crap.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      I always wondered why they thought insulting someone for nto buying a Chevy woudl make them want to buy one now. Ford’s ads aren’t great, but at least they aren’t offensive and insulting.

  • avatar
    Dick

    Well gosh Ann…
    Why don’t you and Ford hire that cancer then stand back and watch how fast I dump my Ford shares?
    She’s a cancer, you moron. Ford needs to launch your twisted panties, with you in them.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Ann Doyle is FOS and her tired rants do a disservice to professional women. I don’t know Ms. Docherty (though everyone I know who knows her says she’s a political hack). That said, I believe she also was a woman when GM hired her and promoted her (rapidly). The readily apparent facts are that GM’s sales and marketing both sucked and Ms. Docherty hadn’t brought results. She had the bad fortune to be the top sales and marketing person when GM finally got a boss who might be serious about trying to fix things. Fair? I don’t know, but I know that all of us who have or had jobs like that serve at the CEO’s pleasure. As the best CEO I ever served said, “I could fire you tomorrow. That’s why I pay you a little more.”

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i agree she’s milfy hot too

    especially in those leopard print blouses

    not enough to get me to pay for a Chevy but…

  • avatar
    ajla

    -Hummer: Get your girl on

    -Pontiac is CAR

    -Buick: Take a look at me now

    -”The plan for GMC is to continue with our Engineering Excellence driven by our “Professional Grade” positioning.”

    -”At some point the LaCrosse will become our largest model and assume the mantle as our flagship.”

    - “In terms of GMC’s styling what comes thundering through is tailored toughness, passionate craftsmanship along with muscular shapes and refined details such as chrome accents.”

    -”Yes we do plan to market to our existing Envoy owners, we think the Terrain will be a great next vehicle for them…we’d call it upsizing in terms of fuel economy, features (like standard rear viewing camera), USB port, and the programmable power lift gate, and multi flex seating, plus 32MPG highway rated.”

    • 0 avatar

      Let’s not forget this little nugget of half-truth:

      “We paid back our government loans, in full, with interest, five years ahead of original schedule.”

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      WOW… The Hummer Get Your Girl On ad… no wonder Hummer is dead.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Pontiac is Car wasn’t too bad, though that’s largely on the back of the (awesome) SpyHunter commercial.

      It also wasn’t done on Docherty’s watch.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It also wasn’t done on Docherty’s watch.

      You may be the only person that didn’t hate that slogan.

      “Pontiac is CAR” came out around Jan 2008, Docherty was made the GM of Pontiac-Buick-GMC in June 2008. She could have dropped it early on in its life for something better, instead it ran until Pontiac was killed.

      She also kept around the “Introducing the first ever G3/G8/G6″ line that most people hated.

      The Spyhunter ad was good though.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    -”The plan for GMC is … driven by our “Professional Grade” positioning.” … “In terms of GMC’s styling what comes thundering through is tailored toughness, passionate craftsmanship along with muscular shapes and refined details such as chrome accents.” …

    As I said in an earlier post, she spoke corporate gobbltygook. You don’t market effectively to people using MBA buzzwords. They don’t want to hear about paradigms, synergy, right-sizing, or whatever buzzword happens to be in vogue at the moment.

  • avatar
    outwestnow

    I worked at the same company as the author. For years and even today, both GM and Ford have pushed women to the top without the proper training under the guise of diversity. They take one aspect, sex and meticulously count in HR and senior management their diversity targets which creates the Peter principle beyond comprehension. The author actually believes that a person’s sex leads to creative thinking and that all the white sit around and conspire against them. I can tell you that the white guys and everyone else is in a competitive political environment with initiatives like “diversity” overlayed upon it is a total distraction from making and marketing great vehicles and it’s no wonder GM and Ford have suffered from such stupid distractions over the years. It’s also a morale killer.

    What these companies need are talented folks running them regardless of race, creed, sex or color. Kudos to Big Ed for shaking things up

  • avatar
    shortthrowsixspeed

    what’s her gender got to do with anything. as i see it, the thought process is as follows:

    “our marketing sucks and has gotten worse since we brought in that new VP of Marketing.”

    “hmmmm. fire the VP of Marketing.”

    seems pretty simple. it may even qualify as good business judgment.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    Having seen plenty of public humiliations in my 25-year Silicon Valley career, I must dispute characterizing Susan Docherty’s demotion as a public humiliation. Losing your job hurts. But GM certainly did nothing to increase the pain. At least nothing public, and nothing humiliating.

  • avatar
    Extra Credit

    Ms. Doyle is concerned that Ms. Docherty has been “publicly humiliated” and that her colleagues are not praising her leadership and vision after her departure. Perhaps that alone speaks volumes about Ms. Docherty’s leadership abilities and her staff’s level of commitment to her vision.

    Ms. Docherty now has a unique opportunity. Very few people have the luxury (or misfortune) of attending their own funeral. The experience can be very enlightening, if you choose to learn from it.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    And speaking of advertising, there is a great collection of GM commercials, including some of the better jingles in GM advertising history, on YouTube at … http://www.youtube.com/user/bajabusta

    (1976) Oh the new Oldsmobiles are a comin’ down the line …
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G48jro1vNVg

    (1977) That’s more like it … the new Chevrolet …
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRfarOd7jxw

    (1976) It’s about time for a new kind of American car … Chevette

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      I’ve found an entire treasure trove of old car commercials on YouTube. Here is one that was one of my favorites as a teen and which still resonates with me today.

      1977 Chevrolet Caprice Commercial
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRfarOd7jxw

      Call me crazy, but I think this is a GREAT commercial and has all the elements of what I consider good advertising. I know marketing involves more than advertising, but the advertising is just so poor these days, we have to start somewhere. Here are the elements I see in the commercial that make it such a great ad to me.

      1. Memorable jingle – Even 33 years later, I still remember it. Whatever happened to jingles, anyway? Stephen Arnold (a jingle composer) calls the exercise “sonic branding” and I think he’s right. Why is there so much reliance these days on Top-40 tracks to create a mood? With a few exceptions, nobody remembers the commercial when you use a generic song.

      2. Upbeat presentation – Makes you feel good about the product.

      3. Entertaining – The commercial and the editing, plus the choice of actors make it interesting to watch, especially the bubbly college girl.

      4. Focus on the product – We aren’t exploring life stories, or urban hipster angst, or gratuitous feel good family moments. The entire focus of the commercial is on the product and nothing in the commercial distracts you from it.

      5. Product features reinforced throughout the commercial.

      6. Message focus – Again, the focus is on the car and its features, not somebody’s life story.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    I’ve found an entire treasure trove of old car commercials on YouTube. Here is one that was one of my favorites as a teen and which still resonates with me today.

    1977 Chevrolet Caprice Commercial
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRfarOd7jxw

    Call me crazy, but I think this is a GREAT commercial and has all the elements of what I consider good advertising. I know marketing involves more than advertising, but the advertising is just so poor these days, we have to start somewhere. Here are the elements I see in the commercial that make it such a great ad to me.

    1. Memorable jingle – Even 33 years later, I still remember it. Whatever happened to jingles, anyway? Stephen Arnold (a jingle composer) calls the exercise “sonic branding” and I think he’s right. Why is there so much reliance these days on Top-40 tracks to create a mood? With a few exceptions, nobody remembers the commercial when you use a generic song.

    2. Upbeat presentation – Makes you feel good about the product.

    3. Entertaining – The commercial and the editing, plus the choice of actors make it interesting to watch, especially the bubbly college girl.

    4. Focus on the product – We aren’t exploring life stories, or urban hipster angst, or gratuitous feel good family moments. The entire focus of the commercial is on the product and nothing in the commercial distracts you from it.

    5. Product features reinforced throughout the commercial.

    6. Message focus – Again, the focus is on the car and its features, not somebody’s life story.

  • avatar
    Jim K

    Glad I’m not the only one that thinks she is smokin’ hot!

    • 0 avatar
      edsullivan

      Until she opens her mouth, chirp, chirp…. Last time she was on WJR radio she kept repeating the new GM marketing mantra that the GM product is “hotter than hot”-Yucko!!!

  • avatar
    Accazdatch

    Hmmm…

    Susan Docherty hasn’t been in any place long enough to actually incorporate change. She was at GMC for a bit.. to push their replacement for the Envoy / with twins being the Equinox and SRX.

    And now she is the mouth of GM?!
    Heck, I’d like it personally EXPLAINED to me… what makes HER able to support G . M as the Veep Of Marketing? Where exactly does that fit in.. in the short term work she has done?

    She is as I believe much like Jill (in charge of Saturn, till that boat sank.) I don’t think she or they have much power to do anything. Heck, Id like to know what exactly did she get done as part of that boat? What things did she push?

    In some tiny regard . . .

    I think she is like Bryan Nesbitt, in that he does a fine job as a designer. (Even though nothing lately has his mark.) But to transfer him as a leader of CADDY.. totally out of the designer position.. is stupid.

    Maybe Docherty needs a little “brand” to go nurture, with her 40yr old outfits and fits of passion and excitement with thick sweaters and dreams of opulence in badge engineered domestic garbage.

    Mind you..
    I have nothing against her . .
    Just the ball game she participates in, and the lousy job she is managing to do.

    As for being publicly humiliated..
    I think Mr Toyoda was recently butchered on Live TV as was all 3 heads of the domestic automakers.. when they announced they asked for money.

    But she hasnt been in any 1 position long enough to evoke change. Just like any of GM’s marketing efforts, styling issues, rebate and or discount cost structure… its all muddled.

    In the end,
    I think both Jill and Susan were manipulated in their roles.. because their sex was more important as a high ranking official (place holder) than anything other. (Just like the interior design of the Solstice or Sky was touted as being designed by a woman. Doesn’t actually matters who designed it, if the vehicle doesn’t sell. Ya’d also have to be an idiot, to see 2 compact cars, built on the same frame, sold as a competing vehicle, in the same parent company, manufactured in the same plant.. just doesn’t work! If that were Toyota (in this response only).. they’d make something else off of it — jus sayin.)

  • avatar
    Revver

    Lemme get this straight. Perhaps the greatest brand on the planet has been systematically fudgepacked by corporate hacks for at least three decades, and as soon as there’s a woman anywhere near the top, there’s cries of “don’t send in a woman to do a man’s job.”

    Just exactly who HAS done a good job at GM? And, I can tell you with utmost certainty, ALL advertising at GM has sucked big time forever.

    GM desperately needs younger and certainly female leadership to change its tired (as psarhjinian put it “white”) old image and product development efforts.


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