Saturday, November 27, 2010

Deconstructing the GM "thank you" ad 

I am a poor target for advertising, because I stare at ads and take them apart as I watch them. Watch the new General Motors "thank you" ad, and then join me in discussing it below.


What a crock! Oops. Did I just say that? Let's take a more learned look at the General Motors "thank you" ad running -- not surprisingly, given the market -- during the Michigan vs. Ohio State game this afternoon.

Image by image:

1. A boxer going down. Was General Motors actually taken down by its competition? It was only in 2008 that Toyota passed General Motors as the world's largest automobile manufacturer. One would have thought that that the #2 player in the market could turn a profit, and certainly avoid bankruptcy. Competitive issues notwithstanding, the boxer going down is a false analogy. General Motors was not taken down by competition.

2. A rocket failing to achieve liftoff on the launch pad. General Motors did not fail to achieve liftoff. It is not DeLorean Motors, a start-up that never got off the ground. As the ad points out, GM has been in business since 1908.

3. Person with his or her head down at a desk. Is that a famous scene with which I am unfamiliar, or is it connected to the failed launch in the previous image? It might apply to General Motors if it implies "see no evil, hear no evil," but otherwise I cannot detect a connection.

4. Popeye drowning. Really? General Motors is the underdog Popeye the Sailor Man fighting to redress wrongs and protect his woman from indignity or peril? The analogy fails miserably, to the point of disrespecting The Popeye.

5. Delta House having learned of its expulsion for rank irresponsibility. Finally, something close to an image that reflects the reality of General Motors, a profoundly irresponsible company.

6. A motorcyclist in competition, wiping out while attempting a daring stunt. Sorry, General Motors has not attempted anything daring in at least a generation. The analogy is intellectually dishonest.

7. Various people, probably employed at the track or teammates of the downed rider, helping the aforementioned motorcyclist to get up. It cost them nothing to do so, and under the circumstances failing to have done would have reflected poorly on them.

8. Delta House's Bluto, refusing to accept the consequences of his own irresponsibility. Again, another honest image.

9. Popeye, rescuing himself without the help of anybody else. If this image is meant to be anything other than a contrast to the experience of General Motors, it is the most fraudulent analogy in the entire commercial.

10. Harry S Truman and the "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline. Where's the recovery from "falling down" there? The only failure was by the editors of the Chicago Tribune.

11. A successful launch of an entirely different rocket. Perhaps a good image if the message is "try, try again," but that is not what happened with General Motors, is it?

12. The boxer, like Popeye, standing up on his own without anybody else's assistance.

This ad is so intellectually dishonest it can mean one of only two things: (1) That the management of General Motors understand this fraud and hope that we are fools, or (2) that the management of General Motors are themselves fools. Both have been true in the past, but -- speaking as a taxpayer -- I was hoping the company had moved beyond that.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Nov 27, 03:18:00 PM:

Reply ad...

Toyota: Because Fat, Drunk, and Stupid Is No Way to Go Through Life  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Nov 27, 03:44:00 PM:

GM's masters are no longer its customers or investors. They are a government entity. As such they are obliged only to satisfy their saviors, the Democrats. These are delusional days for the left. The ad and GM are a microcosm of failed social engineering. Ayn Rand cringes.  

By Anonymous Coach Paul, at Sat Nov 27, 05:45:00 PM:

The motorcyclist in question is of course Evel Knievel, who didn't actually compete. Some came to see him defy death, others no doubt came to see death triumph. And surely you noticed the underlying score is a rendition of the Hollies' 'He Ain't Heavy ... He's My Good-For-Nothing Wastrel Brother.'  

By Anonymous Cap'n Rusty, at Sat Nov 27, 07:53:00 PM:

As to number 6, GM did, once, try something daring. It produced the Corvair, but Ralph Nader, in an intellectually dishonest book, shot it down.
As to the conclusion, there is a third possibility: That the ad was produced in order to please the current administration, for the same reason that the Volt was built, because that's how crony capitalism works.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sat Nov 27, 07:58:00 PM:

Thank You?!....really????

It's a bit like having a lazy ne'er do well brother-in-law (GM) whose life is a colorful tapestry of bad ideas(their products)who finally fails because of an expensive addiction (The UAW). His pusher (the Democrats) then steals money from you to pay his drug tab. You will never get the money back.

...and he thanks you!!!  

By Blogger Georg Felis, at Sat Nov 27, 08:27:00 PM:

GM: Because anybody with a box of video tapes, a pair of scissors, and 50 billion tax dollars can make a company stagger along until you can unload it on another batch of stupid turkeys.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sat Nov 27, 09:56:00 PM:

Advertising people will tell you that if the viewer starts to think about it, they've already lost that guy. You're not their intended audience. And you should encourage as many people as possible not to be their intended audience, exactly as you have here.

Their sole intent is to create impressions and feelings. The idea that their misfortune was maybe a little part of their own doing, but mostly the result of outside forces. But they're plucky. And you're plucky, the guys rising again are plucky, let's hear it for pluck. (Cf. Disney Princesses, who are all spunky gals, regardless of race or particular obstacles.)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 28, 12:20:00 AM:

Since the commercial used the Animal House clip, a more accurate clip would have been...


Bob Dob  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 28, 12:22:00 AM:

"Advertising is the rattling of a stick in a swill bucket".

-Eric Arthur Blair  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 28, 07:32:00 AM:

This must be the GM bashing site. I can not help but wonder how some people think. GM is doing it's best and now is building great cars, but the bashing continues.
Some of my tax dollars went to save GM, but I don't hold the ill feeling some do. In reality it would have been much more costly had GM not been saved. And, our largest would have been gone FOREVER.

Wake up some of you people!!  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Nov 28, 07:37:00 AM:

"Wake up some of you people!!"

Thousands of UAW line workers who report to work every day and do nothing, make over 6 figures a year and retire at age 55 DEPEND on people with your attitude to keep robbing and extorting their employers...and now robbing and extorting the public.

Sorry, anon...the country is already awake!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 28, 10:24:00 AM:

Aw, c'mon folks, GM's IPO-the largest IPO ever- spread a lot of love across the market. Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citi and underwriters were paid $120M; Deloitte, Davis Polk, Jenner Block together, most likely billed a similar amount; Canada pocketed a cool $1B towards its bailout balance, and the U.S. Treasury lowered its holdings to less than 33% and cut its bailout balance by $12B. Or about the same amount that Bush gave GM when he blinked before leaving office in December 2008.

Oh, and several hundred thousand jobs were saved. What's not to love....  

By Anonymous Max, at Mon Nov 29, 11:05:00 AM:

I should not be thanked. I wanted them to tank. It would have sent a message to the rest of the country that when management fails in private industry, the government is not your safety net. I'd rather have my hard earned tax money sent to my local animal shelter. At least those old dogs could enjoyed the rest of their lives in comfort at 1/1,000,000,000 of the cost.  

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