General Motors Ads Strike Back

Direct Campaign May Follow McCann TV Spot Touting Inventory
DETROIT–Crippled by parts plant strikes, General Motors has launched a TV spot reassuring consumers that its inventories have not been depleted, and is also considering a massive direct mail effort aimed at retaining customer loyalty in the face of the crisis, according to sources.
C-E Communications in Warren, Mich.–which handles GM’s Chevrolet division with sister agency Campbell-Ewald–is believed to be preparing the direct mail effort, which may take the form of a letter from GM executives. The TV spot, which broke last week, was created by Buick agency McCann-Erickson in Troy, Mich.
Phil Guarascio, vice president and general manager for marketing and advertising at GM’s North American Operations, said no direct campaign is currently planned; C-E officials could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, GM’s Oldsmobile division is going ahead with the launch of its Silhouette Premiere minivan. As planned, a 60-second spot titled “Movie Magic” broke on more than 10,000 screens in 3,000 movie theaters nationwide over the weekend and will run through mid-fall [Adweek, June 22]. The spot uses clips from classic films to tout the vehicle’s VCR and viewing screen, standard on the Premiere.
The national TV and print campaign for the minivan, initially planned to break in August, has been moved back to early or mid-September, said a spokesman for Olds agency Leo Burnett, Chicago.
McCann’s spot touting vehicle availability was filmed at GM dealerships nationwide and features a blues song, “More Than You Know,” from New York recording artist John Margolis. Most of the spot focuses on shots of dealership lots full of vehicles. Near the end, a male voiceover delivers the central line, which is also superimposed
ON THE SCREEN: “General Motors. Lots of cars. Lots of trucks. Lots of deals.”
“This is one of the most elegant pieces of advertising you’ve seen in this genre in a long time,” Guarascio said. “This is not a commercial about a sale. This is a piece of communication to dispel a misconception. We have as much inventory as the normal inventory that Toyota carries.”
McCann originally presented the idea to division officials, who referred it to Guarascio’s office, he said. “The core of the idea made sense relative to what we felt our needs were,” Guarascio said. “Being able to move quickly is very important. And McCann had done all the background and was aggressive.”