Author, advertising and
publishing consultant, former
editor of Chicago and other
magazines, former creative
director of Campbell-Ewald and
other advertising agencies. For
more information, click here. Or
see Who's Who in America or
Consulting editor, historian, poet
and author of several books. For
more information, click here or
BLOGS and GLOBS: I have
been writing a blog since 1966,
only I didn't know it. In those
days, it came out in the form of a
newsletter on paper. Remember
paper? It never got lost in
cyberspace, although if it got wet
enough blog turned into glob. I
called it The Uncommentator,
and tried to make it amusing. To
read some of my favorites, see
Recent Books by the Frisbies.
WHEN GENERAL MOTORS TOOK A WRONG TURN
June 25, 2008--Now that General Motors is desperately trying to switch to making small, fuel-efficient cars, I am reminded of an earlier time when GM believed it could do no wrong, and seemed to be getting away with it.
In the 1960s, Chevrolet was the top-selling auto brand in the U. S. As creative director for the Chicago office of Chevy's advertising agency, I was occasionally summoned to the Detroit headquarters of Campbell-Ewald for a ritual dance around the campfire.
The Detroit chiefs closest to the Chevrolet account, were expected to be seen around town driving their client's cars. To encourage this, they were allowed to buy a new Chevrolet every six months at a special factory price. During one of my visits, the Campbell-Ewald guys were laughing because when it rained hard the current model leaked. Water came in the top of the window and soaked the driver's left arm.
They could joke about it because it took a few weeks to find this out, and by that time they were already looking forward to the next trade-in
I should have bought Toyota stock right then.
About the same time, GM considered setting up a car rental business through their Chevrolet dealer network. To be called Chevway, it would compete with Hertz and Avis. Because GM was so dominant in the auto business they worried about possible anti-trust implications and farmed out the development of the introductory ad campaign to the Chicago office.
We wrote and designed everything needed, even a thick operations manual, before GM decided to back off. I thought one additional reason for putting on the brakes might have been concern about lack of fleet sales to the existing car rental companies, who likely would have resented an upstart competitor.
When I had to rent a car from Hertz a few months ago, I didn't request a brand. I asked merely for the best deal they had on hand. It turned out to be not a Chevy but a Hyundai.