Mark LaNeve: GM To Launch Toe Tag Sale Early

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

News flash! Automotive News [AN sub] finally talks to someone on the record! And it’s no less a personage than GM Marketing Maven Mark LaNeve, the man in charge of managing The General’s declining ad budget. To celebrate the occasion, AN’s crack reporters resort to the lazy journalist’s best friend: Q & A. The resulting edit begins with the usual “these grapes are not sour, there must be something wrong with your taste buds” waffle. LaNeve would have us believe that the new media is so wicked cool GM doesn’t really need to spend as much money as it did before the last of the corporate cash pile went up the chimney. “When a lot of the digital technology was new, all marketers were learning. As you learn, you get more efficient and you spend less money to get the same results, the same impact, the same reach in the marketplace. That is why I am comfortable with some of the cuts we are making. We are a whole lot better at search, at digital, at working with our third-party partners like Edmunds.com and The Truth About Cars.” Just kidding. About TTAC. Anyway, AN raises the spectre of GM’s octo-brand stretch. Pah! “We prioritize the launches. The key launches are the Chevrolet Traverse, Camaro and Equinox. Cadillac has the CTS wagon, CTS-V series and CTS coupe on the horizon. And the Buick LaCrosse and GMC Terrain are two big launches.” THOSE are GM’s priorities? My children’s children’s children’s tax money is so dead. More revelations after the jump.

Needless to say (but what the Hell) LaNeve trots-out the Curley defense to explain his whithering company/budget/salary. “The decline is now over a three-year period. It really started with Hurricane Katrina. The industry stopped growing and started declining. That has put a lot of pressure on dealer profitability in the whole industry.” So.. what to do? What to do? “We are going to be moving into the Red Tag year-end event, probably starting in early November. Normally we would start mid-November. Next year, depending on how the market shapes up, you will see a pretty strong tactical focus. We will be leveraging incentive offers, combined with a fuel message or a quality message.” Yeah, two messages for eight brands. That sounds like a pretty strong tactical focus to me. But then I think attacking Russia was one of Hitler’s better military ideas. Oh hang on; what if GM merges with Chrysler? Do all eleven brands get the same two messages? Doesn’t seem fair, somehow.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Nick Nick on Oct 28, 2008

    The Camaro is a key launch because...? Presumably a) because the damn car has been around so long that not to launch is too much of an embarassment (GM, sunk costs, look that up) or b) there's not harm in investing time and money in a little bit of rah-rah nonsense when you are on the verge of going belly up. BTW if they merge with Chrysler, will they discontinue the already in production Challenger to 'make room' for the Camaro, or will they actually sell them concurrently?

  • Chris724 Chris724 on Oct 28, 2008

    GM could cut their marketing by 90%, and it would only help. Better yet, cut it 99%. All they need is the bare minimum to make people aware of their existance. All the hype doesn't do them any good. No one believes the marketing BS anyway.

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