The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

8 April 2005

The Rick strikes back

Captain Ed comments on General Motors' decision to stop advertising in the Los Angeles Times:

The final straw appears to have been a column specifically regarding General Motors and its marketing strategy about its brand management. Dan Neil called for the GM board to get rid of Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO. Needless to say, that didn't make Wagoner a fan of the LAT, but it's doubtful that a single column — by Dan Neil, of all people — would cause GM to stop advertising in the only newspaper available throughout the entirety of the greater Los Angeles area. Instead, it seems as though Neil's column probably underscored the complaints that GM had received from its customers regarding the poor performance of the Los Angeles Times.

I'd like to believe the Captain here, inasmuch as the Times' malingering is amply documented, but I'm inclined to think it is a knee-jerk reaction by the Fourteenth Floor. There is plenty of precedent for it: for instance, this year Car and Driver reprinted a particularly nasty review (from February 1968, I think) of an Opel Kadett Wagon, which their unnamed-at-the-time critic described as "a never-ending stream of the third-rate and the underdone, a rolling potpourri of mediocrity." When it first appeared, General Motors responded by canceling its ads, not only in C/D, but in every magazine owned by its parent company, and for every product, automotive or otherwise. (At that time GM, for some inscrutable reason, owned Frigidaire.)

This was, of course, well before the Rick Wagoner era, but if any American corporation believes in sticking to the tried and true, it's General Motors.

Posted at 3:45 PM to Driver's Seat

TrackBack: 10:28 PM, 8 April 2005
» GM Pulls Ads From LA Times Over "factual errors and misrepresentations" In The Paper from Diggers Realm
I guess when you're incompetent and start to lose credibility people don't want to be associated with you. Money/CNN General Motors Corp. has pulled its advertising from the Los Angeles Times over what it called factual errors and misrepresentations in......[read more]

GM has been able to throw money at its problems for so long (or otherwise withhold it), they will have a hard time adjusting to the fact that they will actually have to out-manage and out-engineer the competition to stay in business.

They have the resources, and are finally getting the motivation. Whether they have the leadership with a long-term vision to make profits building cars or a short-term vision to profit from outsourcing everything but distribution and financing, remains to be seen.

Posted by: Anon at 8:29 PM on 8 April 2005