By on December 7, 2009

“Susan is more than capable of doing the job,” said Mark LaNeve, a mentor of Ms. Docherty’s who left GM in October and is now CMO at Allstate. The position “is a very big job and it’s a lot easier when the market is good than when the market is bad.”

From AdAge‘s paean to GM Sales and Marketing Diva Susan Docherty. Of course, what AdAge fails to mention is that LaNeve was ousted after overseeing years of declining sales, a detail that casts his judgment on the topic severely into question. No worries though. AdAge enthuses that Docherty is

described by insiders and former co-workers as a smart, hard-charging and pragmatic leader who will push responsibility down the food chain and vigorously defend ad managers who work for her — while being a champion of creative and holding them accountable for their decisions.

Uh huh. Too bad the primary evidence for this is the fact that Docherty “vigorously defended” the Buick ad seen above from none other than GM’s Bob Lutz. A former colleague of Docherty’s describes that bold stand as “good for the creative side,” and GM CEO Ed Whitacre must agree, seeing as he recently stripped Bob Lutz of his marketing title and gave it to Docherty. When MaxBob sounds like the only sane person in the building and ousted deadwood execs are endorsing their replacements, you know it’s time to get scared.

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18 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Mark LaNeve Knows Competence Edition...”

  • avatar

    About time someone started selling to the Metrosexual market.   Buick will sure put a dent in VW’s Golf Cabriolet sales.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure why AdAge thinks what it said about Docherty is a positive.  I believe it was Byron Dorgan who said “you can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility.”  An individual can be responsible for something without being held accountable; it is the latter that appears most lacking at General Messup.

  • avatar

    I am not that the endorsement from LaNeve really means anything.  After all, do you expect him to say, “No, she will do a terrible job, anyone but her!!!”  Kind of like after an election you see the losing candidate saying to support the winning candidate.  Do they really feel that way, probably not.  But saying otherwise would be career limiting.

  • avatar

    Nothing wrong with the commercial except as a heterosexual, I can’t seem to relate to Buick very well based on what I just saw. Maybe its my macho upbringing.

    I sometimes have a hard time with authority figures. No one in authority can make me care about my job quality, If I don’t want to go there. I work taking care of old folks, and the dedication I afford them, cannot be bought.  That kind of accountability is something I do out of caring and friendship. If companies want to hire such persons, they better be that kind of person.

  • avatar

    I expect that ad works better with women, especially ones who are more interested in a vehicle’s looks than its technical specs.

  • avatar

    I don’t know how much Docherty is to blame for these, but here are some of the ads that came out of the brands she managed:
    HUMMER H3: “Get Your Girl On”
    HUMMER H3: “Tofu”
    Pontiac is CAR

  • avatar

    Mark LaNeve isn’t really the person I trust to ask about someone’s competency to do their job.

  • avatar

    I wonder if Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! … I mean Susan! Susan! Susan! will understand that to sell the car, you need to sell the driving dynamics, the … ok, we’ll put together a 101 crash course for her.  This stuff is tough!

  • avatar

    I think the tofu ad seems to lack a bit of substance. The car one also, but its ok.

  • avatar

    Um, it could have been worse. Imagine if the role of the director had been played by Tiger Woods.

  • avatar

    LaNeve is a CMO at Allstate? What is a CMO? That’s a new one on me, I’m guessing C is Chief and O is Officer what does the M stand for? Marketing perhaps?

  • avatar

    Not a big fan of using pop music to set the mood.  Cadillac and Led Zeppelin was barely tolerable, the Buick knock-off version is a real turn-off.

    Maximum Bob was on the right track with the commercials.  I like the new message but not the actual commercials themselves.  They had a cheap, budget, local TV commercial feel to them.  And the guy on the radio who tells you to go to “” has the voice of a third-rate weekend radio DJ.

    Bottom line is that Maximum Bob was doing the right thing.  The commercials needed more polish, though.

  • avatar

    I think most women would find that ad idiotic-at least I hope they would.  I’m still scratching my head as to why Pontiac Division was closed but Buick still plods on in its inexorable pilgrimage to the domestic tar pit.

    Mark LaNeve managed prove that there is something worse that being a GM employee — being an GM employee who has Allstate Insurance: The position “is a very big job and it’s a lot easier when the market is good than when the market is bad.”   Thanks for that insight captain obvious.  All that time in business school wasn’t wasted on you! 

    • 0 avatar

      > scratching my head as to why Pontiac Division was closed but Buick still plods on
      Buick, for reasons that escape me, is a very popular brand in China.

    • 0 avatar

      You guys have such short memories.  Pontiac is way too similar to Chevrolet.  And do you not remember how Oldsmobile was the Number 3 brand as recently as the early 1980’s?  Buick and Oldsmobile went after a similar customer, trouble was they didn’t have product to back it up.  With competitive product in the pipeline, I wouldn’t be so quick to write Buick off.  Not everybody needs or can afford to wear Johnny Versache (Cadillac) and not everybody wants to wear Levis (Chevrolet).  Buick ideally is like Polo, Nautica, Hilfiger … nicer than average, but not a budget-buster.  I believe there is a market for a car like this.

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