GM BOD Director Ed Whiteacre = Lee Iaccoca for New GM TV Ads

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Automotive News reports, “General Motors Co. will launch a broad post-bankruptcy advertising campaign next week with an introductory TV spot featuring new Chairman Ed Whitacre . . . The idea is to showcase GM’s best products, with Whitacre urging consumers to take a look at what the automaker has to offer.” THIS is what Old GM Car Czar/New GM Ad Czar Bob Lutz thinks will turn around the nationalized automaker’s sinking fortunes? More pan-brand feel good advertising? Or is it worse than that; some kind of sick, twisted Motown plot to get Eddy boy to become a GM insider? I mean, guys, this is the former AT&T exec who celebrated winning his seat at the GM BOD table by publicly pronouncing, “ I don’t know anything about cars.” The guy who said he’d only need to jet into Detroit for a day or so. PER MONTH.

Aside from the aforementioned conspiracy theory, what possible justification could there possibly be for making Whitacre the public face of GM?

GM’s research showed that consumers now want to know that the new GM is a different company from the one in bankruptcy, two of the sources said. Whitacre is enough of an outsider to be viewed as representing the taxpayer, one of those sources said.

I know Lee Iacocca, Ed. You, sir, are no Iacocca.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Joe McKinney Joe McKinney on Sep 10, 2009

    Lee Iaccoca was already a household name when he went on T.V. to promote Chrysler. Because people knew who he was, and because they respected him, Iaccoca had the credibilty to argue Chrysler's case to a skeptical public. Whitacre does not have this level of name recognition and credibilty. When he pops up on the T.V., most people will just tune him out. GM would do better to hire a paid celebrity spokesman. Perhaps a prop comic Gallagher or Carrot Top.

  • CarPerson CarPerson on Sep 10, 2009

    “Honey, why are we driving an old, 6-year old car when we could get us one of them brand new General Motors cars for a hundred dollars every two weeks??” Forget all that nonsense about RWD, AWD, platforms, balance shafts, sound insulation, transmissions, and warranty stuff. Now we’re talking the General Motors white belt and shoes way of doing car bitness.

  • Happy_Endings Happy_Endings on Sep 10, 2009

    I have a feeling this ad campaign will be about as successful as the last car company to use a member of their management team in a series of commericials; Chrysler and Dr. Z a few years ago.

  • Geeber Geeber on Sep 10, 2009

    jpcavanaugh: GM did use corporate ads in the 1950s and 1960s. I remember seeing ads in the 1950s featuring cars from all five divisions, or highlighting a new styling feature (the one that sticks in my mind is an ad from 1956, announcing that four-door hardtops are now available from every GM division). GM continued this practice in the 1960s, although it was more difficult given that each division, except for Cadillac, was on its way to offering a full line of vehicles. I recall an ad from the late 1960s that featured the muscle-car version of the A-body from each division that offered it. The ads promoted the idea that these brands were all under the GM umbrella. It worked because, in those days, people respected the GM name. Each division also used its own engines and was far more involved in suspension and chassis tuning, so there were more differences among the divisional offerings. There were also fewer choices in the marketplace. Today, the GM name has become a liability, and drivetrains are shared across divisions. There may be some differences between a Buick and a Chevrolet, but with so many REAL choices out there, the differences are hard for most consumers to see.