Chevrolet Took All the Branding Off This Malibu to See What People Really Think of It

Sorry, it's not actually a Lexus

The Chevrolet Malibu is the Folgers Crystals of automobiles—people think it's amazing partly because they don't know what it is—in this latest "Real People, Not Actors" spot from Commonwealth/McCann. 

With cameras rolling, Chevy stripped the branding off the vehicle and invited regular people to explore it. The first three people who pipe up in the spot wonder aloud if it's a Lexus, an Acura or a BMW. Later, they peg the price of the car at between $50,000 and $80,000.

Don't they feel foolish when they learn it's a Malibu, and it starts at $22,500?

The "Real People, Not Actors" campaign has been really well done, from the focus-group ads we covered last year to the three entertaining Silverado spots that launched last week. The genius is that the ads seem to authentically capture honest reactions, uniformly positive, about Chevy—though of course there's plenty that's been edited out.

Chevy credits the campaign with helping the nameplate to increase retail sales every month since March 2015. "We now have a great opportunity with the all-new Malibu, Cruze and the rest of the Chevrolet lineup to continue to evolve our storytelling and move from shifting to reinforcing perceptions about the products and the brand," says Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet Marketing.

"Unbranded" is the first ad for the 2016 Malibu. It debuts Friday night in theaters—a 45-second version will run immediately after the lights have dimmed and before the previews begin—which Chevy claims is a "first-to-market use of advertising."

Check out the three recent Silverado spots here: 


Client: Chevrolet

Spot: "Unbranded"

Agency: Commonwealth//McCann

Creative Chairman: Linus Karlsson

Chief Creative Officer, North America: Gary Pascoe, Andreas Dahlqvist

Executive Creative Director-Copywriter: Duffy Patten

Executive Creative Director- Art Director: Bob Guisgand

Associate Creative Director- Art Director : Gary Wise

Associate Creative Director-Copywriter: Scott Lenfestey

Executive Producer: Kelly Balagna

Senior Producer: Chris Ott

Account Director: Jacqueline Redmond

Director/MAKE: Zach Merck

Executive Producer/MAKE Founder: Dana Locatell

Supervising Producer/MAKE Partner: Tim Mack

Executive Producer/Final Cut: Eric McCasline

Editor/Final Cut: Adam Rudd

Editor/Final Cut: Richard Learoyd

Editor/Final Cut: Chris Amos

Posterscope: Jessica Freeley, VP, Director

Media Agency: Carat

Adam Comstock, VP, Communications Planning

Gabby Jarvis, Director, Communications Planning

Nick Johnston, SVP, Group Director

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