This week, General Motors launched a massive television advertising campaign for its Chevrolet brand. This time, instead of promoting heavier vehicles with ads that play hard rock music over loving close-ups of truck parts & accessories, this campaign will focus heavily on promoting the new hybrid/electric Chevy Volt vehicle. The campaign focuses heavily on a nostalgic Americana theme, with a narration by Tim Allen extolling the free-spirited and spontaneous nature of the American travel experience (although most people who plan a major move these days tend to entrust their cars to an auto transport company).
The Wall Street Journal reports that GM is planning to “blanket the airwaves” with the new commercials, and is planning to buy advertising time during the Superbowl halftime, as well as the World Series and other high-rated and expensive time slots.
A possible reason for concern is the ubiquity of similar advertising appeals to the American spirit – in fact, Chrysler is taking the exact same tack, putting George Washington’s troops in Dodge Challengers. In a climate where every used car lot flies the Stars and Stripes in their ads, yet another patriotic car commercial needs to try pretty hard to stick out from the crowd.
GM’s new marketing chief, Joel Ewanick, tried to draw some kind of distinction between all these efforts. “Are we going to wrap ourselves in the American flag? No,” said he, and was technically correct. “We are going to wrap ourselves in the character of this country.”