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On Tuesday, the 24th of January, the President of the United States gave his State of the Union address.Within minutes he stressed that because most Americans shared his belief it was of paramount importance to safeguard the manufacturing base of the country, he was determined to use tax payers dollars to that end…
Or as he put it…
“On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.
We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company.
Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.
It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.”
On the very same day, Tuesday, the 24th of January, Joel Ewanick, CMO of General Motors awarded the more than $3 billion dollar GM media account to Aegis/Carat. Strangely enough, Carat is the French division of its parent company, Aegis, which is a UK based operation currently trading on the London Stock Exchange.
Mr. Ewanick insisted that it wasn’t only money, but better quality that drove him to place the $3 billion piece of business with a non US company. Or, as he so succinctly put it… “It was definitely about finding efficiencies, while at the same time wanting to raise the quality of the service provided.”
Apart from the fact that if it wasn’t for the billions of US tax payer dollars pumped into the floundering GM operation, Mr. Ewanick would currently be another of Detroit’s unfortunate unemployed, did he ever pause to consider that we (the US taxpayers) still own 28% of the company and might be somewhat pissed off about the fact that all this stuff was going overseas?
Yes, various people have pointed out to me that the $3 BILLION is the media spend, and the income to Aegis/Carat will be perhaps, a meager 3%… Which, sadly for the unfortunate Aegis management guys currently celebrating their win by wining and dining on Chateaux Laffite 83, and Beluga Caviar at Claridges, just happens to work out at a measly $90 million. And yes, they will assuredly employ people in their American offices to co-ordinate with the client and make the domestic bookings. But you just know a great deal of the grunt work will be off-shored to somewhere you can get call-centre help for peanuts. Heck, why should they be any different from your friendly local neighbourhood bank?
However, at the end of the day, it isn’t about the money, it’s about the brass balls of GM to think that the American taxpayer doesn’t mind having a sharp stick shoved in their eye when it comes to how their tax dollars are being spent.
But, then again, as no one else, besides me, seems to have picked up on this particular travesty, perhaps they aren’t in any way bothered about it. Obviously, there are much more important things to be concerned about. Isn’t the super Bowl happening this coming weekend? And doesn’t GM have half a dozen spots on it?