Chevy Silverado Ad...Take Two

Posted by: David Kiley on October 10, 2006

Okay…I blogged on BW’s Brand New Day the other day about this weird Chevy Silverado pickup truck ad. Here is Take Two.

I’m clearly not alone in thinking this ad is oddball. The New York Times spotlighted the fact that Chevy has joined those exploiting Rosa Parks for commercial reasons. Yikes. Seems like bad karma to me even though the Parks family merchandises the late Ms. Parks’ image similarly to the way the Presley heirs merchandise the King.

Slate.com’s Seth Stevenson makes this point: “Here’s where it gets introspective. Mellencamp sings, “This is our country” while we watch Richard Nixon, post-resignation, waving from the helicopter that will whisk him away from the White House in disgrace. That’s our country? Shamed politicians? Drab, mid-’70s melancholia? Bummer, man.”

It’s been a while since Chevy advertising has been a topic on the blogosphere. And maybe some of the GM ad honchos thinks that’s good even if it attracts a lot of criticism. Chrysler’s Jason Vines recently commented that he was pleased so many blogs were ruminating and opinionating about the Dr. Z” ad campaign, even though a lot of it was negative.

I’ve never been a big fan of Chevy agency Campbell-Ewald. For the most part, the agency seems like it’s part of Detroit Incorporated, giving the client what it thinks it can sell,rather than trying to lead the client somewhere. I have been to some truly horrible ad briefings at C-E. One meeting sticks out in my mind. Years ago, a creative director showed me some new ads. He was giddy with anticipation. It was an ad that depicted a man too obstinate to ask for directions as he and his wife roamed the countryside, late for a social gathering.

Yikes. Not only was it a cliche, but Isuzu had run an almost identical ad a year earlier. The Chevy passenger car advertising has been all over the place. And the agency has been looking for away to get beyond “Like A Rock” for some time now.

In the end, though, while good advertising is meant to engage and entertain, it should also leave the viewer/consumer liking and respecting the brand and coming away with something about the product.

This ad just doesn’t cut it.

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