Buff Books Whacked By GM, Chrysler Cutbacks. Less to Follow.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
buff books whacked by gm chrysler cutbacks less to follow

Ad Age only lists GM and Chrysler’s ad spend for all of ’08, before the ailing American automakers bellied-up to the federal bailout buffet. But the writing’s on the wall for a number of media who depend on the two teat sucklers for ad cash. The carmakers’ $3B ’08 combined ad spend has already been slashed. When Chrysler and GM go Tango Uniform, well, there’s a black hole out there with their name on it. At risk ’08 ad bucks: Car and Driver ($20.6M from GM), Automobile ($15.4M from GM), Motor Trend ($6.1M from Chrysler). If you’re wondering why the buff books’ reviewers treat GM and Chrysler products with kid gloves, I’ve just shown you the money. And here’s a pdf charting the ch-ch-ch-changes from 2007 to 2008, in terms of the two automakers’ percentage of the buff books’ total ad take [NB: ’07 was a very good year, for small town dealers, with perfume in their hair, until they came undone.] Steve Parr, president of Source Interlink Media, is non-plussed, allegedly.

“We have a wide and diverse customer base,” Parr pronounced. “It is also clear that many of the great GM brands will continue to exist, and we have no reason to expect that they will not continue to advertise with us.” No reason not to not agree, Steve.

And now, we present the buff books’ rendition of WHERE MY NSFWing BAILOUT?

The silver lining many in media are hoping for is a share of spending for a proposed marketing campaign from the Obama administration to reassure consumers if one or both of the automakers declares bankruptcy.

B-b-b-but . . .

So far, the administration hasn’t spoken about launching an incentive-based campaign that could spark consumer interest and purchase activity. But President Barack Obama did discuss a public-relations campaign the Internal Revenue Service was launching to alert consumers to a new tax benefit for auto purchases made before the end of the year. But a full-scale ad campaign, say, built around tax breaks for people who buy fuel-efficient vehicles hasn’t been mentioned.

Meanwhile, the automakers’ ad agencies have already reserved their spot in the ad space/time continuum, worth billions. All of which is about to become an entry on someone’s liability sheet. Of course, that would be federally-funded Chrysler and GM. NOT the ad agencies.

“There is what we call sequential liability” — the concept that the client, not the media agency, in the end is responsible for media purchases — “so we believe that our exposure is limited [claimed Publicis Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy]. The final client for the media is General Motors.”

How about a number on that, you know, as the taxpayer is on the hook here?

Ad Age asked GM how much liability it has for media buys and agency fees, including whether media owners, production companies and agencies have sequential liability in their contracts. A GM spokeswoman said, “We are not commenting on this level of detail at this time.”

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  • Runfromcheney Runfromcheney on Apr 06, 2009

    tedward: I had a subscription to Automobile that I immediately cancelled when I saw Jean Jennings to commercials for Jeep. (There was a section on Automobile's website for Jeep, and it had videos of Jean pimping all of Jeep's models. The Compass one was the most painful) I currently have a subscription for Car and Driver. After getting ahold of a few 1999 issues of Car and Driver, I learned just how far they have fallen in the last decade. The 1999 issues have a lot more insightful reviews and comparisons, and Brock Yates' editorials were just genius. Now I never read the editorials and I can't help but notice how ads have taken over. It has come to the point that the pages are half ad, half review. After getting their piss-poor December issue last year, and noticing how behind the times it was (It was all about surviving the fuel crisis, even though gas had already fallen under $2.00 again), I wasn't going to renew my subscription. So I was slightly disgruntled when my mom renewed it for me as a Christmas present. Now I have to put up with them for another year! But yeah, in a nutshell, Car and Driver (And just about all of the buff books) have jumped the shark. It seems to be nothing more than just sucking up to advertisers now.

  • Obbop Obbop on Apr 06, 2009

    I blame Obama. And Bush and a Clinton or two and toss in FDR just to be safe and Howard Taft assuredly had a hand in this affair at some point.

  • 2ACL If I'm going to battle 30-year-old BMW problems, then the car had better be representative of their greatest hits. I hear the M42 is a decent motor, but it just doesn't personify BMW excellence of the period. Also did some digging in the seller's other posts to try and determine the transmission type. . . https://www.bimmerfest.com/threads/m42b18-1994-318is-misfire-hopefully-remedied.1443915/page-2#post-13810336"Test drive was magnificent, for an automatic, it eventually gets up to speed." Free-revving four + four-speed slushbox = definite pass.
  • SCE to AUX This is good news, as long as the Tesla plug can deliver the kind of power needed in the future. I'm not sure that's a settled matter.
  • SCE to AUX Hyundai/Kia/Genesis, if we're talking mfrs of consequence in the EV space.But to their credit, they've tried to remain distinct from the Tesla approach to everything. They've been quick to respond to the Biden IRA domestic content stuff for EVs (by building more US plants), so maybe they'll jump on this NACS bandwagon.
  • FreedMike I guess it's good to hear they finally made the third row livable - the one on the old RX was a joke - but, man, is this generic-looking.
  • Alan I read the front wheels are driven by the engine and the rear wheels by electric in the hybrid. I also find it odd it isn't offered as the 2.4 hybrid with 250kw on tap.