1992 was a strange and stressful year for a town so dependent on the church known as the auto industry. But for many reasons it was" />
1992 was a strange and stressful year for a town so dependent on the church known as the auto industry. But for many reasons it was" /> GRAND BLVD.: A LOOK BACK AT A STRANGE AND STRESSFUL AUTOMOTIVE YEAR <b>By DAVID KILE</b><br clear="none"/><br clear="none"/>1992 was a strange and stressful year for a town so dependent on the church known as the auto industry. But for many reasons it was | Adweek GRAND BLVD.: A LOOK BACK AT A STRANGE AND STRESSFUL AUTOMOTIVE YEAR <b>By DAVID KILE</b><br clear="none"/><br clear="none"/>1992 was a strange and stressful year for a town so dependent on the church known as the auto industry. But for many reasons it was | Adweek
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GRAND BLVD.: A LOOK BACK AT A STRANGE AND STRESSFUL AUTOMOTIVE YEAR By DAVID KILE

1992 was a strange and stressful year for a town so dependent on the church known as the auto industry. But for many reasons it was

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1992
Recently deposed General Motors chairman Robert Stempel was helluva good man, whose biggest downfall was that he is loyal to a fault, and had the wrong job. I'd have a beer with him any time.
I wouldn't have a beer with Roger Smith even if he paid.
Lee Iacocca blackballed Robert Lutz for the job to succeed him as head of Chrysler. I wonder if Iacocca realizes he would have been run out on a rail by the time he left a few weeks ago if it wasn't for Lutz's deft handling of the LH sedans and Jeep Grand Cherokee, each of which are terrific vehicles. Even if 'Lido' won't admit the company bounced back in spite of him, new chairman Bob Eaton knows it's true, and that's why Lutz isn't going anywhere.
The GM board members who leaked disinformation to the press during the coup should be forced to clean out the stables at Olds gm John Rock's Montana ranch with teaspoons.
One of the best campaigns to come out of GM's agencies this year was the one the fewest number of people saw - Ayer's corporate campaign that is in hiatus. (Pssssst . . . In my opinion the ad in this campaign directed by Francis Ford Coppola was the weakest execution.)
'Most Tiresome Story of 1992' award goes to executives at BBDO and Ross Roy who have been negotiating a merger for who knows how long.
Chevrolet is arguably in worse shape than Oldsmobile, because it is a more important division to GM in terms of sales and attracting young buyers. But no one I know of is looking to put Lintas: Campbell-Ewald on notice. Why? Because the ads are damn good.
Volkswagen and DDB Needham seem to have finally discovered something: that the ads the agency has produced in Europe for the struggling auto maker have been much better than anything the agency created for the U.S. market. The new TV ad for the Passat, for instance, looking like it was done for the French market, is a beautiful piece of work. But, hey VW, see if you can lose the whatsisnugen.
Buick executives told me a few weeks back that they would stop ripping off Honda ads this year. Good idea.
I can't decide if the ads for the Mercury Villager that play off the famous Lee Iacocca boardroom ad by Bozell really work. I hate advertising about advertising, but people I know who don't remember the original ad seem to like it.
Not that I'm going out on a long limb on this, but it needs saying . . . The creative hub of W.B. Doner is in Southfield, Mich., not Baltimore.
For Pete's sake, when will these stupid discount appliance chains pick an agency, and stay with one? Badabing, Badaboom.
1993
Prediction: Leo Burnett will keep the Olds account. But it was good that John Rock held the review. The dealers feel like they are part of the solution now, and the process forced the agency to think up some fresh ideas.
Unfortunately, Olds won't do much better. The damage is done. And the Aurora doesn't look like enough of a car to do much good. Olds' average age buyer will go up, not down. And its market share will go down, no up.
Ayer will merge with Ketchum Communications, putting the GM corporate ad account into review. But GM will break its standing rule, and give the business to one of its existing agencies - probably Lintas: Campbell-Ewald.
John Rock's press conferences will be better attended than GM ceo Jack Smith's. Rock will compare reporters to cattle rustlers, and won't say anything that he'll later regret.
Phil Guarascio will be made a vice president and given more control over GM's overall marketing. (Unfortunately, this is more a wish than a prediction: He probably won't be.)
Sean Fitzpatrick will reach his goal weight. And he'll never admit that Bill Clinton is a good president, even if he is.
Highland Superstores won't get out of Chapter 11, but it will find yet another ad agency to handle its ad account.
Chrysler will have a new marketing department, with John Damoose and Ted Cunningham taking other jobs or leaving the company. And Bob Eaton won't cut any of Chrysler's ad agencies.
The Tigers won't finish better than fourth in the AL East. And Sparky Anderson will retire after next season.
Bozell will keep the Michigan Lottery account.
Red Poling will retire from Ford having said nothing quotable. And another year will go by with few noticing that Ford is the best run car company in North America.
Detroit's Renaissance Center will be declared the worst piece of architecture since the tables started sliding across the room in the Tower of Pisa.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)