Did those new GM ads featuring Chairman Ed Whitacre make you want to rush out and buy a new Chevy Malibu?
We didn’t think so.
BrandChannel, the new blog from ad agency Interbrand, explains how dumb these new CEO focused ads are. And it reveals that the new Citi ads may try to talk up CEO Vikram Pandit’s reputation.
Two months after declaring bankruptcy, GM has rolled out a new ad campaign featuring government-appointed CEO Ed Whitacre. In a 60-second spot, Whitacre declares the brand revived, and goes so far as to brag, “We win.” The ad shows Whitacre walking through what looks to be GM research and development, shiny new cars decorating the scenery. Whitacre invites consumers to test a new GM model — though none are shown — and promising a 60-day-money-back guarantee if not fully satisfied.
Citigroup, yet to return its bailout funds, is quietly preparing its own ad campaign to be introduced as soon as next month. Though few details are known, insiders expect Citi to focus on the company’s positive steps over the past year, like revising customers’ mortgage terms. The ads will also strive to defend the reputation of CEO Vikram Pandit, though it’s unclear whether the chief executive will face the cameras directly like GM’s Whitacre.
These brands seem to be taking a gamble by personalizing their product with the very leaders the public holds responsible for their failure. Consumers may dismiss the ads as just more lies and empty promises…
The thinking that led these brands into the red appears to be guiding their brand reform. GM and Citigroup have both made the same miscalculation: Consumers are looking for action, not words. GM should spotlight their fleet of competitive vehicles in advertisements. Instead, they’re undermining the quality of their product by placing the spotlight on their 60-day-money-back guarantee. Whereas Citigroup, in trying to explain why they have yet to pay back bailout funds, essentially misuses their bailout funds for an ad campaign.
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