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September 25, 2009


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Christopher Barger

David - thank you so much for making the time to come visit with us, and as always for your candid and honest assessments of what we're doing well and what we could improve. (And thank you for devoting so much blog time and real estate to a discussion of our company, our business, and our marketing efforts!)

I know each of us enjoyed meeting you in person and really appreciated your thoughts and insights. We'll of course keep reading and staying in touch with you in the coming months.

Regarding the commercial, I won't defend but will explain: part of the reason for including Mr. Whitacre in the commercials was because we've heard the criticism that the new GM is still run by the same people who ran the old GM; we felt that Mr. Whitacre's "Detroit outsider" perspective might be more credible to people. That said, his commercials ran primarily during the first week of the campaign (to introduce the 60 day guarantee); the campaign has largely shifted now to our products and how they directly compare to our competition. (At the end of the day, our business success or failure depend on the strength of our products, so they need to be what we build around.)

I promise, I'm not trying to defend here; if you didn't like the Whitacre commercial, you didn't like it - and that's quite fair. I just wanted you to know the thinking behind it. Not that I want/expect it to change your mind, just wanted you to know what we were thinking.

Thanks again and have a great weekend!

David Meerman Scott

Hey Christopher -- Thanks again for everything. It was a great week.

The problem is that 99 percent of people watching the commercial have no clue who the chairman of GM is (or was).

I know that he says "new chairman" but that could mean he was promoted. I don't know if the people who worked on the commercial did the research, but my guess is that less than one percent of people viewing would make the leap to an understanding that this is an "outsider" perspective.

Call me dense, but I watched the commercial 5 times, I met all of you guys on Monday, I did independent research, and until reading your comment just now even I did not know he was an "outsider"...

Anyway - its a small point. Overall you guys are doing great. Keep it up.


Tony Fannin

It's great to see that you're open minded to listen and give an honest chance for others to convince you of their viewpoint. I appreciate your example of willingness to learn and to change your perception once you knew the inside facts. Speaking of inside facts, it's amazing how much we understand once we walk in their shoes.

From a marketers standpoint, the magic is when we're able to get across the same message and emotion in all forms of the marketing plan that you experienced first hand at GM.

Thank you for sharing,
Tony Fannin

Neil Callanan


Great stuff. A good trend to see big brands like GM engage with those who take the time to create commentary on their brand and org.

Thanks for recapping your experience.

-Neil Callanan

Harriet Meth

@David - This was a really well-done series of interviews. Candid, revealing not only about GM but also a wider interpretation of what a story is and the implications for businesses of all sizes (a subject I've just blogged on).

@Chris - Wondering if you are going to re-edit any of the interviews and run on your website or Facebook page. Good material here for communications peers as well as folks interested in what GM is thinking these days.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks, all.

GM is doing a good job. Yes, they have a tough fight, but they are engaged.

Christopher Barger

Hi Harriet - good idea! David, may I have your permission to post these videos to our Facebook page?

David Meerman Scott

Of course, Christopher. I would be honored. Direct links to the videos are in each post.

Jeff Rutherford

David, I'm curious if you saw the Journal story today re: GM ending their eBay experiment after only 7 weeks - http://ow.ly/rQ6t

I tweeted about it earlier pointing out that car dealers were surprised that eBay shoppers wanted rock-bottom, no haggle prices for new cars.

I think GM should be lauded for their social media efforts and outreach. However, I think they're going to have a continual problem, consumers experience of GM's brand ultimately leads them to their local dealer. And car dealerships are operating from a different era.

Now, I'm no expert on the ways of Detroit, but I think there will be lots of money to be made when a car company can truly deliver a customer experience that is customer focused - NOT dealer focused. One price, no haggling, and no I don't want your expensive add-ons, Simonizing, etc.

Delivering on that will be far, far tougher than a social media strategy. However, as I pointed out, what happens when all their social media strategies leads a potential customer to a local dealer - who isn't customer focused or social media adept?

David Meerman Scott

Jeff -- I think you are right about the dealer stuff.

There are many legacy aspects of the auto business that are tough to manage - dealers, unions, retiree health benefits, the many years required to bring new cars to market.

I'm intrigued by how they have changed the way they communicate. I hope that indicates they can change other aspects of the business.

Derya Yilmaz

thank u for ur posting webinknow :))

Used cars

It is a nice new trend which is used by brands like GM to engage with those who take the time to create commentary on their brand and org as it will definitely increase the popularity of their brand in short time and less expenditure

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