Big Debts, Bigger Campaigns


Depending on the industry you’re in, your target audience, and a number of other factors, advertising can provide great return on investment. The automotive industry, for example, is one that truly benefits from its presence in both traditional and social media spaces. Without question.

However, when a company is billions of dollars in debt, and on the brink of bankruptcy, is an ad campaign a wise way to make use of company cash? And, even more so, a clearly pricey campaign at that?

I’m going to have to answer that question with a big NO!

Below is the latest and greatest in GM advertising. While I do like the ad, for several reasons, it is certainly overkill. Click the video to watch.


I agree with you GM, you have some serious re-branding to do. You do need to remind the public that you are a true American auto manufacturer. But you also need to regain people’s trust by building quality vehicles and standing by your warranties. Perhaps you could start doing this with a low-budget ad campaign. Maybe create a contest for third-year advertising or design students. They could do the work for you while gaining valuable experience – it would be a win win!

I do have faith in you GM. Do me proud, and please, spend the big bucks on your advertising, when you’re making the big bucks.

  • Lindsay T

    I think it is a very powerful commercial – everyone at work is talking about it.

    It probably didn’t cost that much. Not sure if you noticed but they actually reused a whole bunch of clips from previous ads they did. There is barely any new material.

    From a PR perspective, I think the ad is genius. It’s not blaming anyone, it’s not whining, it’s manning up and facing reality. Yes – I agree about the spending, however, how else are you supposed to get your message out there in a timely manner?

    Obviously they need to make better cars and improve warranties, but they also have lots of work to do between now and then. I think this ad is great first step.

    • doinitwell

      Hi Lindsay,

      Thank you for your feedback and input on my journal. I too agree that it is a very powerful ad, and as I stated, I like it for a lot of different reasons. However, it still appears to be overkill to me. Right now they need to be perceived as honest, but people who’s tax dollars are going to bail them out may wonder – why such a fancy campaign?

      In addition to the production costs, this particular TV ad runs during prime time. It is millions of dollars to run ads during these times!

      All I’m trying to say is that they need to get back in the game in baby steps. I personally was completely turned off by this new campaign. Yes, I like the ad itself, but due to its fanciness and lack of simplicity, in a time when the company is billions in debt, it has worsened my view of GM, not improved it.