I am in the business of marketing and advertising and have been for the last 25 years. Therefore, when TV commercials air, I watch avidly rather than flipping to the next best show.
To my dismay this past weekend when watching some mindless movie, a spot for the "new GM" came on. Wow, you've got to be kidding me. They take bail-out money then they needlessly spend gazillions of dollars on a TV spot to let the public know how they plan to reinvent themselves? What a waste of money -- especially since as taxpayers, we are indirectly footing that bill. There are so many new free or less expensive avenues with social marketing (such as blogs and chat forums) to get the word out about their plans.
To me that is irresponsible. Are they are talking out of both sides of their mouth? They want to be bailed out yet they keep spending needless money. No one cares about their pretty TV commercial (which was a bit odd in my opinion).
I care about turning the company around, honoring customer warranties and getting people back into the work force so they can support their families, pay their bills, buy groceries and have health insurance.
I've written and produced many TV commercials and placed the media for them as well. I cannot even begin to wonder how many thousands upon thousands of dollars they spent (and perhaps wasted) on this effort.
As a taxpayer I now own part of these companies that got bail-out money. As an investor, I should be encouraged to buy these products or at the very least, hope someone else does so. As a citizen of one of the many states that is struggling to the very core due to this fiasco, I want to see them rise from the ashes. That's one side.
The other side is a person who believes in the power of marketing -- especially if the product backs up the marketing promise. I have seen it work. I have also been in too many situations where the marketing budget is the first line item to be cut. Marketing can save a company. It can also permanently destroy a customer relationship if the advertised promise doesn't deliver.
I hope they are looking at every possible avenue to save the American automotive industry. I hope every line item is under tremendous scrutiny. I hope the bail out is a hand up, not a hand out. And I truly hope they use the line item marked "Marketing" in a responsible way.