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Another Chevy Shake-Up as Perry Resigns Marketing Post

No replacement yet named.

by on Dec.19, 2013

Chevy marketing chief Chris Perry introducing the 2013 Impala at the NY Auto Show.

The revolving door at the General Motors marketing department has been spinning fast the last couple years, and nowhere is that more apparent than Chevrolet which is losing another top manager as 2013 draws to a close.

The latest to depart is Chris Perry, who has been overseeing the Chevy brand’s U.S. marketing operations. Perry joined GM in 2010 after a stint at Hyundai.  Though his unexpected departure is creating plenty of buzz, there’s no clear explanation for the move which comes just weeks after Perry’s boss, Chevy global sales and marketing chief Alan Batey was appointed the new president of GM North America.

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For his part, Batey kept his comment on Perry’s departure short and sweet, noting “GM would like to thank Chris for his dedication and contributions, and wishes him well in all his future endeavors.”


Chevy Names Batey New Global Brand Boss

Move comes days after Docherty’s unexpected resignation.

by on Jun.25, 2013

Chevy's new global brand czar Alan Batey.

Just days after the head of Chevrolet’s struggling European arm unexpectedly tendered her resignation, General Motors has appointed Alan Batey as its new global brand czar.

The appointment is one of a series of actions by GM meant to shore up Chevy’s image not only in the U.S. but in worldwide markets that have come to increasingly dominate the bowtie brand’s sales.  Nearly three of every four products badged Chevrolet will be sold outside the U.S. in 2013, GM forecasts.

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“Chevrolet is our mainstream global brand, and with the growth we are experiencing and the barrage of new products we have coming, the time is right for us to have a single leader responsible for managing the brand around the world,” said GM CEO Dan Akerson.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Who the Hell is in Charge at GM?

Time to stop blaming Joel Ewanick.

by on Mar.15, 2013

GM would like to blame all its sales and marketing woes on former CMO Joel Ewanick - but maybe it needs to point elsewhere, says columnist Bernstein.

The advertising business is loaded with cliches but perhaps the most pertinent is, “An agency is only as good as the client lets it be!” Yet, when the ads aren’t working it never turns out to be the clients fault, it’s always the agency’s.  Ha! It is the client who establishes the marketing goals and objectives, often in a vacuum of reality, understanding and experience.

And then there’s the wonderful phrase, “We have a strong agency – client relationship!” Double-Ha! That’s the kiss of death. There is no such thing as a long lasting agency/client relationship. At best it is confrontational, more likely acrimonious and seldom harmonious.

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The ad agency news this week emanating from General Motors’ Renaissance Center headquarters makes the political mess in Washington seem almost trivial, doesn’t it? The rather nasty innuendos and evil repercussions are intended to put the blame on one person, Joel Ewanick, which is a crock. True, as global Chief Marketing Officer, Ewanick had plenipotentiary powers bestowed on him by the CEO and board of directors. But the marketing ship was already floundering with its sails and rudders gone and no captain. And it’s unclear anyone really wanted Ewanick to do what was necessary to make GM’s marketing operations ship-shape.


Ewanick Legacy “Gone,” GM Marketing in Turmoil

Caddy and Chevy accounts shift; will Buick-GMC follow?

by on Mar.14, 2013

Tippett Studios, which created the fantasy world in Jurassic Park, now helps Buick's Encore dodge dinosaurs in a new ad campaign.

General Motors’ marketing operations are a step short of chaos, according to sources close to the maker, with two of GM’s most important brands set to review – and likely make major changes to – their ad agency partnerships.

Chevrolet is the latest to be looking for new talent after a disappointing effort to turn to an unusual partnership between two of the advertising industry’s largest agencies. The largest of the GM brands is also getting a new global marketing chief of its own next month. As previously reported, Cadillac also is switching ad agencies.

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The reported moves mean that the legacy of former GM global marketing czar Joel Ewanick is largely “gone,” according to an industry veteran. Ironically, it appears that the latest shake-up involves a game of musical chairs, some of the agencies coming back to GM having had long associations with the maker in the past.


Ewanick No Rogue Player, Says CEO Akerson

GM officials offer insight into ouster – and future ad strategy.

by on Aug.02, 2012

Former GM marketing czar Joel Ewanick was a team player, suggested CEO Dan Akerson, countering reports he was ousted for rogue behavior.

Ousted General Motors global marketing czar Joel Ewanick was no rogue operating outside the corporate playbook, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson made clear during a conference call with industry analysts today.

It was the chief executive’s first comments on the sudden departure of 52-year-old Ewanick since the marketing chief was summarily shown the door by the giant automaker last Sunday.  Though termed a “voluntary” resignation, subsequent comments by a GM spokesman – and speculation both inside and outside the company – has raised questions about whether Ewanick had committed a significant ethical breach that led to his summary termination.

During a call to discuss GM’s weak second-quarter earnings, Akerson and other officials made it clear that the company is not about to make any significant changes in the often-controversial marketing strategy laid out during Ewanick’s two years on the job.

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“What you saw in the marketplace was a thought-out strategy,” said Akerson, who added that Ewanick had operated as part of “a team,” and not as a free agent or cowboy.

(GM earnings tumble 40% during Q2. Click Here.)

The CEO declined to discuss the specific reasons for Ewanick’s departure, however.  Insiders report that intense negotiations ended Sunday with the marketing executive allowed to bill the move as a resignation.  But spokesman Greg Martin raised serious questions when he later stated that Ewanick, “failed to meet the expectations the company has of its employees.”

The rumor mill quickly went into overdrive, receiving numerous, and clearly unsubstantiated, calls suggesting a serious ethical breach was committed.  Other reports, widely circulated, have indicated Ewanick may have failed to follow proper channels in approving a mega-million-dollar deal with the wildly popular Manchester United soccer team, and a subsequent partnership with the Liverpool Football Club.

Both deals were signature moves for Ewanick, whom Akerson recently described as a “glass-breaker” willing to slaughter sacred industry cows.  He terminated long-time partnerships with key ad agencies such as Campbell-Ewald, which had represented Chevrolet for more than half a century.  He pulled GM out of the Super Bowl and denounced Facebook advertising days before the social media site’s closely watched IPO.

(For the original report on Ewanick’s ouster, Click Here.)

It’s no surprise, said a close friend of Ewanick’s, that “the long knives came out as soon as he was gone.  Everyone wanted to help drag down his reputation now that he couldn’t fight back.”

Akerson’s comments don’t entirely solve matters.  The question of why Ewanick was pushed out is still a mystery, though today’s 40% decline in GM earnings – coming a day after the maker reported a 6.4% decline in July sales while the overall market was up markedly – suggests that the real problem was Ewanick’s failure to deliver new customers.  That, ultimately, is what a marketing chief is supposed to do.

Ewanick might have been “disruptive,” said analyst Rebecca Lindland, of HIS Automotive, but “disruptive doesn’t (necessarily) mean positive results.”

(For more on July sales, Click Here.)

GM’s market share has slipped by nearly two points compared to year-ago levels, at 18.1%.  Rival Toyota has gained nearly two points during the same period – though that includes business it recovered after the disastrous production cuts it suffered in the wake of Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

There has been some speculation that GM’s interim marketing chief Alan Batey – who appears to be the man to beat for a permanent assignment – might make some major changes in direction. But when asked if he might walk away from the Ewanick-approved “Chevy Runs Deep” ad tagline, or cancel plans to shift global GM advertising to a newly formed consortium called Commonwealth, Batey responded, “the simple answer is no.”

The fact that GM actually expanded the Manchester United relationship on Monday, the day after Ewanick’s departure, should have been a signal that the maker will hold to the status quo, at least for now.

“As I told you, this has nothing to do with our strategy,” continued Batey. “We are executing as per our plan. We have always been one team, and that continues. So you shouldn’t read anything into this that we didn’t announce, and there is nothing else to add to that. But are we changing strategy? Are we evaluating any of our partners? No.”

If any decision is likely to be reversed in the near-term, it is GM’s move to pull $10 million in advertising on Facebook.  There have been numerous meetings between senior GM executives and their counterparts at Facebook, meetings that have gone all the way up the chain of command to GM CEO Akerson.

But Ewanick had telegraphed from the start that the Facebook ad cancellation would be reviewed, so this is no surprise.

“There is no change in direction,” Batey repeated during today’s call.  “There’s no change in priorities.”

GM Marketing Czar Ewanick Unexpectedly Resigns

The man who shook things up is latest shaken out.

by on Jul.29, 2012

GM Marketing Czar Joel Ewanick shown during a Chevrolet news conference two months ago.

Joel Ewanick, the agent of change brought in by General Motors just over two years ago to shake up its moribund marketing operations, has unexpectedly resigned.

In a terse statement issued Sunday evening the maker said only that the 52-year-old executive “has elected to resign immediately.” Alan Batey, GM’s vice president of U.S. Sales and Service, will step in as global marketing chief on an interim basis.

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Exactly what led to Ewanick’s sudden departure isn’t clear but it takes even those working close to the marketing czar by surprise.  In fact, it appears to have taken Ewanick himself by surprise.  The former Hyundai marketing chief appeared on the Internet TV show Autoline After Hours barely a week ago and it was clear, “This was not a guy who saw this coming,” said host John McElroy.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Hype, Hope and Hysteria

Score a big win for GM.

by on May.25, 2012

GM marketing czar Joel Ewanick, shown with the Chevrolet Volt.

Hooray for Joel Ewanick! He had a helluva week breaking molds, traditions and profligate spending while making new ad biz rules. He’s gone where few CMO’s have dared to go with the outlandish premise of getting a measurable return on every component of the corporation’s massive advertising budget.

Part 1 was killing GM’s Facebook ads, a media trip into the unknown that was not working: i.e., generating measureable interest or involvement. Feeling good is not a Metrix element of marketing. Results count, right?

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Part 2 was the cancellation of three 30-second commercials on next year’s Super Bowl because they become too expensive. What a bizarre concept. GM not on the Super Bowl. OMG!

But the media buy of $11.4 million based on a price tag of $3.8 million apiece is chump change when one considers the other elements of the major expenses for a traditional Super Bowl package for Gargantuan Motors that could boost the bill by another $10 million or more.