GM invokes past for "Chevy runs Deep" ad campaign

Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:25pm EDT
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By David Bailey and Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co is tapping a wide range of cars from its past and present, including the new Chevrolet Volt, for a "Chevy runs deep" advertising campaign that begins on Wednesday night.

Chevrolet will use the opening game of Major League Baseball's World Series to launch the campaign with four television ads aimed at changing perceptions about the brand, GM executives said.

"We want to take all of the great lessons that we had from before that made GM great for many, many, many years," GM U.S. marketing chief Joel Ewanick said. "We want to put those other things that didn't behind us."

The U.S. automaker emerged from a government-supported bankruptcy last year and is expected to complete an initial public offering within a month that will allow the U.S. Treasury to begin to reduce its nearly 61 percent stake in the company.

GM's challenges include rebuilding a U.S. market share that stood at 19 percent so far in 2010, down from nearly 24 percent in 2007, and erasing its public perception as "Government Motors" after $50 billion of U.S. taxpayer funding.

GM does not disclose its ad budget, but its U.S. spending in 2008 was estimated at $2.23 billion by Kantar Media, and Ewanick said his 2011 U.S. advertising budget would be "a couple of percentage points" above the 2008 level.

The Chevrolet ad campaign follows a series of marketing missteps by GM since it emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009, including an ad with former Chief Executive Ed Whitacre that touted the full repayment of government loans. The ad gave the impression that taxpayers were repaid fully even though loans comprised just a small percentage of actual taxpayer funding.

Ewanick, a former U.S. marketing chief for Hyundai Motor Co, took over GM's U.S. marketing in May in the fourth shake-up of GM's sales organization since its bankruptcy.   Continued...