Great Moments In GM Advertising: Eminence Grille

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

General Motors has traditionally lived and died by the excellence of its marketing — or at least it did before the 1977 Accord delivered a bunker-buster to its core business, anyway. Sometimes the marketing is regrettable, sometimes it’s brilliant. And sometimes it’s hilariously, and almost literally, tone deaf.

Precision can be the difference between winning and losing, or that element that separates ordinary from a cut above. GMC today unveiled “Precision,” an advertising campaign promoting the brand’s relentless attention to detail, a foundational value for the brand.

As the narrator speaks, shots of Affeldt pitching alternate with GMC vehicle details, such as the French stitching on a GMC leather seat and a grille’s sparkling meshwork.

The “Precision” ads will air throughout 2015, and the campaign will extend to digital, social and print advertising featuring every truck, crossover and SUV in the 2015 GMC lineup.

All three “Precision” ads open with an instrumental portion of The Who’s “Eminence Front,” chosen for its confident tone and technical, precise musical execution.

I saw this ad for the first time last night and it caused me to sit up and say, “Holy fuck, was that ‘Eminence Front’? Was that ‘Eminence Front’ used to sell GMC Denali-level products?” Since most of TTAC’s readers are too young to remember the song, here it is. It’s bad-ass, but there’s more to it than that:

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • Cameron Aubernon Cameron Aubernon on Mar 22, 2015

    This is the first time I've heard this one, and it sounds like it could've been released today! Also: "Eminence Front" has had some life prior to providing GMC some of its eminence, including: *A news music package for WVTV-TV in the 1980s *The "Miami Vice" third-season episode "Kill Shot" *The Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s" in January 2010 *Appearing on "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" on a trailer for the game, and on the playlist of one of the game's stations Make of all that what you will.

  • Hybridkiller Hybridkiller on Mar 22, 2015

    FWIW, Townsend has been widely quoted as having introduced the song live with "This song is about what happens when you take too much white powder. It's called Eminence Front" It's about drug use by rich people, not about shopping by rich people.

  • Cowcharge Cowcharge on May 20, 2015

    LOL the pure, delicious irony of using "Eminence Front" in an ad for GM's blinged-up Urban Assault Vehicles.

  • JennaBo JennaBo on Jun 05, 2015

    While I'm sure The Who indulged just as much as the rest of the rockers in their day, let's not forget they also founded Teen Cancer America.