Quote of the Century: "We Can't Be Stupid About How We Do Things Here"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
quote of the century we can t be stupid about how we do things here

You just know it’s got to be GM. And so it is. The words flew out of the mouth of Steve Tihanyi, the man who oversees GM’s sponsorships. Or, more accurately, the elimination of GM sponsorships. After all, in Bailout Nation, you can’t be seen to be having a good time on the taxpayer’s nickel. (Although GM spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato helpfully pointed out that there are no advertising or marketing restrictions attached to the government loans or the company’s viability plan.) The latest casualty: GM’s 25-year sponsorship of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Bloomberg:

The company will slash by at least 60 percent on-site spending at the Final Four, even though this year it will be held blocks from GM’s headquarters in Detroit. The company is trimming dealer-incentive trips to the championship rounds and billboards downtown. Tihanyi wouldn’t comment on how much the 60 percent cut in on-site promotion and entertainment would save.

’Cause that would be telling. Oh, and Bloomies forgot to mention that GM’s not going to use its swanky skybox seats at this year’s final four. What’s the bet they’ll go empty?

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4 of 19 comments
  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Feb 27, 2009
    I just can’t help but wonder what all those basketball fans are going to do downtown detroit. Does Detroit even have enough hotels and restaurants to satisfy them all? Two large downtown hotels have been renovated and reopened recently, the Book Cadillac and Fort Shelby. In addition, the three Detroit casinos are now in their permanent structures with attached or adjacent hotels. Of course many attending the Final Four will be staying in suburban hotels. Those staying downtown have their choice of four casinos (counting the one across the river in Windsor) as well as a number of watering holes and eateries that cater to Red Wings and Tigers fans. Ford Field, where the basketball tournament will be held, is located across the street from Comerica Park, where the Tigers play, and just across Woodward from the Fox theater. That area has bars and restaurants as well. Ironically, for a long time, Detroit missed out on convention business because there weren't enough hotel rooms downtown. Now that there are enough hotel rooms downtown, Cobo Hall's need of renovation and expansion gets in the way of new convention business.

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Feb 27, 2009
    # yankinwaoz : February 27th, 2009 at 11:25 am Dont’ forget, GM is bankrupt and on life support thanks to extorting tax dollars. Sorry, but bankrupt companies don’t get to sponsor anything. Sorry, but I think you're confused about bankruptcy. Though GM hasn't yet filed for some form of protection from creditors, the idea behind Chapter 11 bankruptcy is to allow a company to reorganize so that it survives in some fashion, which is best for all stakeholders. While the company is in Ch. 11 proceedings, it still has to operate as a business and try to sell its goods or services, so it still has to advertise. I don't think there's a bankruptcy judge in the country that would prohibit a company in Ch. 11 from any and all advertising or marketing. This site is supposed to be about truth and the truth is that advertising and marketing is one area where the domestic automakers have started doing things differently than how they've been done in Detroit. For the past couple of years, the domestics have been pulling big chunks of dollars back from broadcast advertising and also trying to get a handle on internet advertising and marketing. There's been increased emphasis on the most bang for the buck. TV and radio stations have already felt the pinch as marketing dollars have shifted from broadcast. The financial crisis the domestics face is accelerating the process, forcing a review of all marketing expenses. The Final Four announcement got headlines but is small beer compared to the announcement from GM that it is cutting marketing expenses by $800 million. It's not clear how much of that is advertising and promotion, because the thousands of dollars per car in incentives is booked as a marketing expense, but it's clear that a lot of advertising and promotional costs will be axed. As the good Doctor Johnson said, “The prospect of the gallows concentrates a man’s mind wonderfully.” Add the fact that GM is operating under a microscope with the magnification provided by 300 million taxpayers, and I suspect that every marketing dollar will be examined for cost effectiveness and how it will make the company look. FWIW, corporate suites and other hospitality type promotions can be effective marketing. DuPont spends >$10 million/yr on sponsoring Jeff Gordon's NASCAR team and related promotional activities. Those activities include corporate suites and hospitality tents at races. I'm not sure if it's still the case, but when I worked for DuPont Automotive, the sponsorship dollars came out of the Automotive/Refinish SBU, not Wilmington. While the company as a whole was getting great exposure from the #24 car, Refinish wanted to make sure their own money was well spent so they started tracking sales of paint to paint supply and collision shops whose personnel were invited to hospitality events at NASCAR races. The data was incontrovertible (or at least it was at the time), DuPont's increased paint sales to these businesses alone covered the cost of the NASCAR sponsorship.

  • Derm81 Derm81 on Feb 27, 2009
    Cobo Hall’s need of renovation and expansion gets in the way of new convention business. Blame Conyers (the other Conyers) for that one. Yo, she be keep dat shit weel! Just another nail in Detroit's coffin...of course, they have been putting nails into Detroit's coffin since before 67.

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Feb 27, 2009

    Monica Conyers is a preening race pimp, whose stellar academic career includes a law degree from the vaunted University of the District of Columbia. Last night on the tv news she said that the governor (a liberal Democrat) was treating Detroit like a "plantation". Monica is more of an embarrassment to Detroit than Kwame was. The woman has no shame. She uses her police escort to carpool her kids to a fancy private school in the suburbs. I sure as hell can't afford to send my kids to Cranbrook but Monica and her hubby John will be the first to say how their kids are the victims of racism. The sad truth is that there are about 900,000 people left living in the city limits of Detroit. With only 25% of kids graduating from high school (and God knows how minimal the graduation requirements are), it's been estimated that 50% of the adult population of Detroit is functionally illiterate. Toss in a carefully nurtured sense of race grievance towards the suburbs, it's easy to see how petty demagogues like Conyers keep getting reelected to positions of real power.