GM moving ad dollars to smaller cable nets


General Motors agreed to spend money in the TV upfront negotiations but has come away with deals that moved its advertising out of top-tier networks and shows and into less expensive cable nets, The NY Post has learned.

GM, which still counts the government as a shareholder, is trying to get more bang for its advertising buck and was pressing for a 20% cut in CPMs — cost per thousand eyeballs. The carmaker has an annual ad budget of $1.8 billion. Of that, Kantar Media reports, GM spent $1.1 billion on TV in 2011, a 7.6% YOY decline.

Joel Ewanick, GM’s global marketing chief, recently pulled the entire display ad budget from Facebook just ahead of the company’s IPO. (It was later reported that GM had wanted to take over pages, a move Facebook wouldn’t allow.) Just days after the Facebook news, Ewanick said it would exit CBS’ Super Bowl, citing its exorbitant cost.

It’s hard to say whether it got TV executives to budge much on price, said the story. “In order to help them save face, there were offers of multiyear deals and dialing up the tonnage and dialing down the quality,” said one executive familiar with GM’s buys.

To rev up its ad power, GM added dollars with less expensive networks, including Discovery’s Investigation Discovery and Crown Media’s Hallmark Channel, sources said. GM has said it isn’t spending less money overall.

“Universally, the market looked at what GM did as a botched approach without a coherent fallback plan,” said one Madison Avenue source. “The remedies were that people downgraded their mix of inventory and said no to the 20 percent rollback.”

In one example, GM, traditionally an advertiser on the Golden Globes, agreed to a new sponsorship of the much smaller BET awards for its Chevrolet brand, according to reports.

See The NY Post story here