GM’s Actual Ad Actually Lame
Here is the actual ad that ran during the game, after seeing the preview here. If you're reading this via RSS or a news reader, come visit the actual blog page to view the commercial video.
So, the “joke” in the commercial was that the sad robot was just having a bad dream about being fired and committing suicide. In the preview, we thought the robot actually did jump off a bridge.
Hilarious. Not really. As I said before, I think that was a sad and depressing ad, not an effective way to sell cars.
The tag line at the end of the ad says “everyone” at GM is obsessed with quality. I guess they're focused on the quality of vehicle production, not the quality of ad production.
Quality doesn't come from robots, Toyota has proved that for a long time… and GM's view of quality doesn't match up. Or, is it a case of the car buying public (non-manufacturing people) thinking that “robots alone = quality” the same way people think “inspection = quality”? It's too bad that the GM ad couldn't feature real people, UAW and GM both, talking about how they screwed up in the past and that GM is getting better.
I wonder what people were saying about that ad at Super Bowl parties? How many people with bad GM experiences were laughing at line about quality?
What did you think of the ad? What did others say?
The GM spot featuring the depressed robot might be funny to 20-somethings on Madison Avenue, but I'll bet it's not very amusing to the 66,000+ Americans losing their jobs at GM, Ford, and Daimler-Chrysler.
And this comment (link):
Is GM (suicidal robot commercial) bragging that they will drive their employees to suicide in order to ensure quality for it's customers?
And this comment (link):
My friend shouted in rage at the TV that he knew people who actually committed suicide after the plants closed in 1980, not to mention his friends who were, like himself, on food stamps for several years because the fast food jobs didn't pay the bills – a situation created, partly, because of the robots. That ad was a giant middle finger to the American working class. I was appalled.
Here is what GM's ad agency was supposedly “thinking” (link):
The message: Everyone at GM is obsessing, even dreaming, about quality.
Um, I bet most of them are watching the Super Bowl right now, not thinking about quality. Apparently, I'm obsessed with Lean if I thinking this during the game.
The robot was built by Stan Winston Studio, which devised R2-D2 30 years ago. But, unknown to Hirshberg, R2-D2's squeaks and buzzes were created by actors; the GM robot's utterances were based on mechanical sounds from power tools and car engines. Hirshberg and Bryce made the squeaks and grunts themselves; the audio techs did the rest. Suddenly the robot sounded more human.
The fretting didn't end there. To make sure the suicide scene seemed authentic, they viewed movies with bridge leaps (Fearless, It's a Wonderful Life).
The robot is a Hollywood creation. I'm sure the folks at the real GM Lansing plant must be Super proud. Isn't it sick that the ad people wanted to make the “suicide” seem as “authentic” as possible? Yikes. As I said in my last post, there's NOTHING funny about the parallels in a real person losing their job, falling into depression, and committing suicide. NOTHING.
Maybe GM got this ad because they hired an ad agency that thinks GM is a “loser brand”:
“People don't buy ‘GM' vehicles,” says Jim Sanfilippo of Automotive Marketing Consultants Inc. “So I think the emphasis on GM as a brand is wrong.” Hirshberg disagrees. Besides the stock symbol being “GM,” he says, thousands of mostly negative stories appear each year with “GM” in the headline. “We need to work on changing GM's story,” he says. “People don't like to buy loser brands.”
What a mess. At least their brand image lines up with reality. GM's CEO Rick Wagoner is to blame, personally, for the ad it seems. He saw that stupid ad and rewarded the ad agency with $200 million more. I'm sure the ad agency is laughing at taking the “loser” money from “loser” GM.
On Jan. 16, as Hirshberg kept tweaking, he videoconferenced with gm Chairman G. Richard Wagoner Jr., who loved the ad and gave Deutsch the $200 million Saturn account. Of course, in an age of YouTube (GOOG ) ad parodies, consumers have a lot of say over what advertisers do. They'll determine if the ad worksâ€”and if Wagoner's faith in Hirshberg is warranted.