Chevrolet's new commercial for its Silverado truck appears to be another miss by General Motors
Last time I checked, 629 players had voiced their opinion on GM, with 406 predicting that the stock will "underperform" and 223 saying "outperform." In the All-Star division, there are 37 bulls versus 77 bears.
Here's what some of the bears had to say:
SarahGen -- 10/16/06
Way too big.... And unable to properly forecast what America will really want -- they don't have a chance long term.
TexasGiant -- 10/10/06
GM is out of touch with consumers.
mnobile -- 10/05/06
American cars are just falling out of favor around the world. Toyota and Nissan continue to steal market share.
advsys -- 10/03/06
Even if there is a Nissan/Renault deal, this company is in dire straits. They have nothing new in the pipeline that reflects on changing consumer trends, and the slowing economy will make for a double whammy.
And even some of the bulls sounded conditionally positive:
lsc15 -- 10/03/06
GM will get their act together.
yachtsman -- 9/22/06
Will be the dominate auto player once the dust settles.
hossiergirl -- 8/25/06
Could it be that GM will now reflect the needs and opinions of their would-be customers?
All these comments may sound familiar to anyone who has been keeping up with American car manufacturers. From the summer's high gas prices to Ford's
In the commercial, a barrage of images attempt to conjure up classic "Americana." For the most part, these depictions fall into three categories: innocuous, blunt, and nearly exploitative. Falling into the first category is a car coming off the assembly line, teenagers chastely dancing, and a father and son at the beach. The second category includes helicopters hovering in Vietnam, the famous shot of Nixon waving goodbye, and a house's roof being ripped off in a storm. And in the last group are a photograph of Rosa Parks on a bus, an aerial shot of homes flooded by Hurricane Katrina, and the southern tip of Manhattan, where two columns of light shoot upward from the site of the World Trade Center. Accompanying these images is singer John Mellencamp, belting out lyrics about how "this is my country."
So GM is looking to resonate with consumers by conjuring up images, both familiar and wrenching, which say "America." To be fair, it's not the first time a company has played on its national roots to suggest to consumers that buying domestic is a good thing. Which it can be; with the recent backlash over outsourcing and the loss of auto jobs in Detroit, it seems logical to run ads that remind viewers of the company's strong national image.
But I can't get past the way in which the company chose to remind consumers of its domestic strength. Yes, Katrina, the fall of the World Trade Center, and the Vietnam War were national tragedies that continue to test the country's strength and resilience. But co-opting these images in an attempt to sell a truck cheapens the very real pain, struggle, and loss that those images represent.
Either someone involved in this commercial has a strange sense of appropriateness, or everyone involved was asleep at the wheel, because too often the lyrics clash with the image presented. At the line "from the East Coast, to the West Coast," the former is represented by lobstermen; the latter, raging fires. The storm-battered house and Katrina destruction are synced to the words "down the Dixie highway, back home." Is the company really that insensitive? I have trouble believing that no one involved in the creation of this ad could find a better image for the West Coast than a blazing fire, or that everyone thought the juxtaposition of "home" with clearly uninhabitable houses was fine.
In a final bit of irony, the commercial ends with a proudly displayed Chevy Silverado . as it rolls across a field. Seriously, Chevy, couldn't you at least have spared what farmland this country has left?
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