By on May 26, 2010

With Susan Doherty removed to a safe distance from Chevy’s marketing efforts, the “Excellence for Everyone” tagline that emerged during her brief tenure as VP for Marketing is already on its way out. Chevy spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin tells Automotive News [sub]

It’s not something you’re going to see for much longer

The line, which has appeared in print ads only for the last several weeks, has been replaced by new tagline-free spots (above, 30-second version here). Don’t expect a brandnew spot, impossible in such a short time after Joel Ewanick took over. But it is a much-needed, short-term revision to a campaign that crystallized the need for new leadership at GM’s marketing operation. But are the “RedX engineers” featured in the new spots a short-term distraction while Ewanick gets rolling, or a long-term feature of Chevy’s marketing? We’ll ask around and keep our eyes open… [previous Publicis Chevy ads here and here]

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40 Comments on “Chevy “Excellence For Everyone” Tagline D.O.A....”

  • avatar

    Montgomery Burns will be heartbroken.

    • 0 avatar

      Since the pop-culture reference seal has been broken, this compilation featuring the “Red X” character from “Teen Titans” is strangely appropriate to the situation. And it’s just one of several Google search results for the term “RedX” that make me think the “RedX” name should probably stay a short-term thing.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Off the top of my head:

    Honda: “The power of dreams”
    Ford: “Try one”
    BMW: “The ultimate driving machine”
    Toyota: “Moving forward”
    Acura: “Advance”
    Nissan: “Shift”

    All others: “?”

    The best taglines you keep for decades. I always thought “Built Ford tough” was great for all Ford vehicles. They should bring that back. And Chevy’s used to be “Like a rock” which is absolutely badass. Why can’t the marketing idiots just pick something and stick to it?

    • 0 avatar

      >Why can’t the marketing idiots just pick something and stick to it?

      Because if they don’t change something they have nothing for their annual performance review to justify the big raise they want. And if one of their changes doesn’t pan out, they can get another year’s mileage out of “refining the message” or other twaddle.

      /Marketing Degree
      //Glad I escaped.

    • 0 avatar

      In 1968-1969 Chevrolet used the tagline, “Putting you first keeps us first.” I believe it was the most effective hook that they ever employed. It was true then and they were easily first in sales. It’s too bad that they didn’t walk the talk, maybe they still would be “first” if they had.

    • 0 avatar

      @Amendment X: At first glimpse of the Nissan “Shift” ads (in print), I originally thought it was missing a letter. Even today, in your list, it STILL looks like it’s missing a letter.

    • 0 avatar


      The commercial wasn’t bad, but I’ve often wondered the same thing. SafeAuto Insurance has used the same catch jingle for years. Same goes with Menards “Save BIG Money with Menards”, Nationwide’s old jingle “Nationwide is on Your Side” and even the old Toyota “Oh, What a Feeling” spots (talk about not walking the walk … lol).

      I think the best car commercials right now are the ones for Mercedes Benz. They are slick, focussed, interesting to watch, and do a good job conveying the message.

    • 0 avatar

      Why can’t the marketing idiots just pick something and stick to it?

      On one hand, because it’s easier to change taglines than to change products, strategy or whatever. And yes, it keeps marketing people busy, or at least distracted from solving real, and much more difficult, problems.

      Distraction activity is a real problem in upper management.

      On the other, sometimes a tagline is so badly damaged that you have to change it: I’m thinking “Quality is Job 1” for example.

      I’d add Mazda’s “Zoom. zoom” to the list of taglines that have stuck for a long time: ten years, though I suspected it was longer. It’s an example of a good one.

    • 0 avatar

      “Like a Rock” may have been to literal in my experience.

      Both of my Government Motors full size pickups were “Like a Rock”, i.e. sitting on the side of the road with yet another catastrophic failure waitin gto be towed home.

      Surely, the “Excellence for Everyone” campaign was kitshanned when clips of “Bill and Teds’ Excellent Adventure” started showing up up in fan forums.

  • avatar

    Yes even this stopgap measure is an improvement.

  • avatar

    I saw one of the Red X ads last night, it was terrible. Quality is pretty much a given now and the ad brings back the bad old days when GM vehicles were terrible. Reminding potential buyers of the reason why they won’t buy GM again is a loser. Give them a positive reason to look at GM vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Some Guy

      “…and the ad brings back the bad old days when GM vehicles were terrible… Give them a positive reason to look at GM vehicles.”

      I don’t see where or how the ad is negative. It’s only positive.

      While I’m not totally ga-ga in love with the ad, I like it overall.

  • avatar

    I like this ad and I see how the fresh perspective is working. The Howie Long Chevrolet ads were annoying and “Excellence for Everyone” was in my opinion snobbish and off-putting.

    I can tell you from first hand experience that coming up with an effect tagline is a very difficult thing. It has to be brief but convey a fundamental message about your brand. The more diverse your brand, the harder it is. We just came up with one for my company and we’re rolling it out now. Internally it was met with, shall I say, mixed reviews. As we’ve shared it more with our customers and with the public at large we’ve found that the reaction is becoming more and more positive.

    Now somebody talk to Subaru about their increasingly smarmy ad campaign.

    • 0 avatar
      Amendment X

      I found the Howie Long commercials to be snobbish and off-putting. It’s just him baselessly railing on their competitors.

      Howie: “Hey, you drive a Honda?”

      Scrawny looking guy: “Uh, yes I do”

      Howie: “Well you’re an a**hole!”

    • 0 avatar

      My “favorite” is the Silverado “Man Step” commercial. We use Ford Super Duty trucks at work. That “man step” is actually quite useful. The ad makes Chevrolet look petty.

    • 0 avatar

      And don’t get me started on “I’m a BIG girl.”

    • 0 avatar

      Amendment X – a brilliant and hilarious distillation of the Howie Long ads.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Amendment X..

      I cant TELL you how many times.. I wanted to reach through the screen of my TV.. and STRANGLE Howie Long!!

      The ads starring him… were ignorant, condescending and just down right stupid.

      The facts aren’t correct, comparisons aren’t even made properly.

      I find him to be a LAME p.o.s. who is just like every OTHER money grubbing MOOCH of the purse strings of Generic Motors–(Fritz, the COUNTLESS amount of BANKRUPTCY lawyers, auditors).

      Delorenzo.. is right.. again.
      This TAG line… just like every other.. since LIKE A ROCK.. has been.. LIKE A DUD!

    • 0 avatar

      The original early Howie Long ads were kind of funny, in a Dennis Leary sort of way. Oddly enough, that’s who Ford uses for their truck ads now. The later ones, were just plain arrogant. I thought the man-step one was the worst.

      I don’t know if there was a change at Subaru North American marketing, but some of their ads have been strange, to say the very least. The one where the folks take the old Subaru out to pasture to rust in peace, is plain ridiculous. It’s not a horse! The one where they would donate some amount of money to one of three charities, just proved to me I was paying that amount of money too much for a Subaru. The latest one in rotation in my area, where the folks inadvertently join a parade by accident is equally inane.

      Not that these ads would have been any better with anybody else’s vehicles in them.

      I don’t know if these ads resonate positively with anyone else, but to me, there’s a wasted opportunity to show your product in a positive light. These just demonstrate muddled thinking, IMO.

  • avatar

    With cars like the Aveo and Cobalt in their lineup a more accurate slogan would be “mediocrity for everyone”.

  • avatar

    Man, I can’t wait to go out and buy a new GM vehicle after seeing the new ads. I think I may go out on my lunch break and look at some of those great cars like the Aveo, Cobalt or Traverse. They have to be great vehicles because the new ads are so good, right?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Talking about quality is easy. The hard part is actually doing it! There is little evidence GM is succeeding. Regardless, few believe them.

    How good can the cars be when GM lacks sufficient confidence to provide an honest, broad 10-year warranty and owner forums are reporting ugly battles to have the current, inadequate warranty honored?

  • avatar

    Wow I’m totally shocked! It’s not as if anybody today can make up there minds at GM.

  • avatar

    “Chevrolet: We’re gonna take your money anyway, so you might as well buy an inferior car.”

    Yeah, it’s an old joke, but it still rings true and forever will.

  • avatar

    Toyota- People are dying to buy our cars?

  • avatar

    “When everyone is excellent, no one will be…”

  • avatar

    I always got a kick out of the happy people jumping up in the air as you hear ‘I love what you do for me, TOYOTA!’

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, Toyota ads have historically taken the award for blatant arrogance. Smart way to *ding* move forward. Guess I’m not smart. Or maybe I am now based on recent events.

  • avatar
    Beta Blocker

    Whether intended or not, the Red X advertisement communicates the message, “We are no longer the GM we used to be.”

    For me, the ad simply highlighted the real possibility that they still remain the General Motors they used to be, and thus reminded me of my decision two decades ago that never again would I ever purchase another GM product.

    The excellent quality of the product and service I get from Mazda confirms the wisdom of that decision every day.

  • avatar

    Further proof that at Government Motors, “Excellence” has a rather loose definition. Even if you pay $50K for your Equinox.

  • avatar

    This time they really mean it.
    “Nobody sweats the details like GM”, the “Road to Redemption” along with all the other ad campaigns were just dry runs.

    I’ve had mostly positive experiences with GM products but I know many that haven’t. What makes this ad campaigns any different than the other countless “Now we get it” promises?

    How about “We will shut up and do it right”.

    • 0 avatar

      “This time they really mean it”

      Actually, I’ve had that line used by GM on me many times already. Even that line has no meaning anymore. Nice try though. ;)

    • 0 avatar

      How about:

      “Not your fathers Chevy” or
      “Chevy is Car” or
      “Chevy the power of &” or

      Nah, we need something new, something differet, something full of truthiness…

      “Chevy, ’cause someone has to build rental cars”

  • avatar

    I kind of thought the ads were interesting until the tagline. The tagline ruins the whole thing because GM has already made a mockery of the term “excellence”. The word already has no meaning in the context of GM.

    If I were to rewrite the commercial, I would have simply ended with “a car you can count on”. Then make the entire company build cars (and trucks, if you must) and the culture of GM build on that slogan. If the customer can’t relate your product and customer service with the slogan you choose, the company deserves to go bankrupt and go the way of the dodo.

  • avatar

    A poster on GMI suggested what I actually think is a great tagline — “Come home.”

    Simple. To the point. Evokes a sense of nostalgia, while not promising the world in terms of quality or dependability (which Gov’t Motors is ill-equipped to offer.)

    I still despise GM. But I also think “Come Home” would be a game-changer. I’m curious to see whether Ewanick comes up with anything better.

  • avatar

    In the 70’s the slogan was “GM, The Mark of Excellence”. Then came
    Roger Smith and the badge engineering of the 80’s. I think the new marketing guy wants to avoid rehashing an old ad that became a joke with cars like the Chevy Vega, Chevette, and Citation.

  • avatar

    “rpol35May 26th, 2010 at 10:50 am: In 1968-1969 Chevrolet used the tagline, “Putting you first keeps us first.” I believe it was the most effective hook that they ever employed. It was true then and they were easily first in sales. It’s too bad that they didn’t walk the talk, maybe they still would be “first” if they had.”

    About the same time they also walked the talk on:
    – Body by Fischer
    – Mark of Excellence
    – Standard of the World
    – no idea what their tag-line was (maybe this was the leading indicator that Olds would be the first to fall.)
    – Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick? (may have come a bit later than 1969.)
    – Driving Excitement (came in the 70’s.)
    – See the USA in a Chevrolet (not quite as good as Like A Rock.)
    – EMD: The Pattern for Finer Transportation
    – Allison Div: “Payoff on Purpose”, or “Allison didn’t become the largest manufacturer of light helicopter engines by winging it.”
    – GM Diesel: “Now, More Than Ever.”
    – GMC: (couldn’t find one.)
    – GMAC: (couldn’t find one.)

  • avatar

    “Like a Rock”

    Sitting on the side of the road with it’s hood up waiting for a towtruck.

    Sorry, just reminising

  • avatar

    “Like a Knock”

    Reminising again

  • avatar

    Aw, hell – just use the old ads from the ’50s and ’60s. Airbrush out the old cars and insert the new models. Even though Dinah Shore is dead, she could probably sell more Chevys than they do today. “See the USA in your Chevrolet, America’s the greatest land of all… Mmmmm-WAH!”

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