By on June 26, 2009

I don’t mind tripping the light fantastic with PR people. No journalist should expect to get the straight dope or the inside line from a person paid to protect his employer from the slightest ding to their rep. It’s the dark side. Deal. And here’s the deal with this story, wherein an ad hoc committee of lawyers created an ad taking New Chrysler and Old Soon-to-be-New GM to task for trying to walk away from post-C11 product liability.

After agreeing to air the ad 197 times in the D.C. area in exchange for $56,000, Comcast pulled the ad after 74 airings. This in response to emails and phone calls from General Motors. A major Comcast advertiser.

Comcast spokesman Chris Ellis: “We’ve pulled the ad temporarily so we can we can conduct a review of the claims in the ad.” How long might that take? “There’s not a specific time frame attached to the review process.” What is the process? “I’m not familiar with every step in the review process.” Can you describe it generally? “We don’t get into our business process.” Chris, can you lead for a while? No? OK, then. One and two and . . .

Did GM pressure you to pull the ad? “We don’t discuss our client relationships.” Did GM contact you requesting that you pull the ad? “I think GM’s made their position clear in their public statements.” So what was the problem with the ad, anyway? “We will not run ads that make claims that are unsubstantiated, false or misleading. We require substantiation for issue advertisements.” So why wasn’t the ad hoc ad vetted before it aired? “We’ve pulled the ad temporarily so we can we can conduct a review of the claims in the ad.” Hang on; isn’t this where I came in? Yup.

There’s no whiskey tango foxtrot here. GM bullied Comcast into removing the ad. Like Old GM with its $21 million LA Times advertising boycott, New GM is ready to silence its critics using its ad budget as leverage. The fact that this company is supported by my tax dollars is starting to turn my stomach. Again.

[Click here to see the original ad. Click here to see GM’s email to Comcast.]

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4 Comments on “Comcast Puts Ad-Hoc Safety Group Ad in Review Process Hell...”


  • avatar

    “We will not run ads that make claims that are unsubstantiated, false or misleading.

    Doesn’t that include practically every ad?

    ”We’ve pulled the ad temporarily so we can we can conduct a review of the claims in the ad.”

    If they conducted a review of the claims in every ad they showed, and pulled those which make false or misleading claims, they’d never show any ads!

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    This is just absolutely sickening. As much as I really want to see the company succeed, —mostly so we don’t lose our tax money— moves like this make me really hope for liquidation. I’d at least like to see a white collar cull starting with Fritz Henderson and Mark LaNeve.

  • avatar

    When I was still in the advertising biz, we absolutely ADORED these takedown orders. Saved the client media money and created a huge buzz. And that was long before Youtube. I believe the brouhaha will generate much more impressions than what $56K could buy.

    Now I can admit it: We sometimes created intentionally outrageous ads so that they got pulled and we could talk them up.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    “We will not run ads that make claims that are unsubstantiated, false or misleading. We require substantiation for issue advertisements.”

    That’s funny they didn’t have any problems airing both sides of the mudslinging for just about every political candidate back before the election.

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