GM to revamp "Chevy Runs Deep"


General Motors, a year after Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick joined the company, is looking to reinvigorate its “Chevy Runs Deep” campaign because some of the creative has not resonated with enough consumers and some ads don’t explain what the slogan means, Ewanick said in an interview this month.

The “Chevy Runs Deep” campaign is intended to emphasize the brand’s U.S. heritage and make an emotional connection with consumers, Ewanick said. “Where we fall down is, we have not done a good job of bringing that idea to life. We haven’t really elaborated what we mean by that.”

“‘Chevy Runs Deep’ has maintained the brand but it hasn’t really moved them in any direction,” Alexander Edwards, president of the automotive division of Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based market research firm, told Bloomberg. “The campaign has not boosted showroom traffic.”

The campaign, which debuted in October during the World Series, has done little to boost shopping for Chevrolet, according to data from In October, before the campaign began, 11.6% of shoppers on Edmunds had considered Chevrolet vehicles. Consideration rose throughout Q4 2010 to as high as 12.6% in January. That was likely due to the introduction of the new Chevy Cruze compact. Chevrolet consideration fell to 11.8% in July, Edmunds said.

However, U.S. vehicle sales of GM as a whole rose 16% through July, according to Autodata Corp. GM’s market share increased to 20%, from 19.2% a year ago.

Meanwhile, Chevy says it will air the ads that have worked the best for the fall U.S. television season. Ewanick said that one of the best ads of the campaign came out Memorial Day weekend. In an ad called “Salute”, a soldier comes home from duty in a Chevy SUV to his two sons, who are waiting on the front porch.

“Bringing heroes home for generations,” the ad’s narrator says. “Just another reason Chevy runs deep.”

Chevy will also use the Volt as a centerpiece to advertising this year, Ewanick said. While the car sells in limited numbers, the plug-in hybrid draws interest that brings attention to GM’s other models.

Cadillac is also revamping ads for Cadillac. It will also move to focus on product attributes, Don Butler, vice president for Cadillac marketing told Bloomberg.

GM’s luxury brand has emphasized image advertising that portrays the brand as “red-blooded, American luxury.” In an ad called “Arrows,” actor Laurence Fishburne says that the Cadillac CTS-V coupe’s styling was inspired by an archer drawing its bow. The car then outruns hundreds of arrows.

Cadillac replaced agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty with Minneapolis-based Fallon Worldwide in July of last year after Ewanick joined GM. He also hired San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to take over the Chevy account.

RBR-TVBR observation: The campaign has been not so much a call to action, but a branding effort in the first place. It does have some powerful creative and has indeed maintained the brand. We see the new creative as pairing that now-established branding with product attributes (i.e. safety, price comparisons) to drive folks into the showroom. Incentives, of course, may be in the picture as well. Bottom line, in this economy, GM’s numbers are doing pretty well. The fluctuating consideration numbers are just reflecting consumer sentiment.