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?

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.

Here’s my SWAG (sophisticated wild ass guess) of what was spent to wring the maximum amount of interest, promotion, involvement, publicity and involvement for bragging rights at the club and the appeal the Super Bowl holds for dealers, fanatic football fans, sports mediums, advertising blogs, advertising media and post game ad winner columns:

Item #



Estimated Cost


Commercial Production Outside purchases by ad agency for talent, sets, music, travel, special rights, filming and all post pro of   editing, audio mix for 3 spots at $2 to $3 million each. Range of$6,000,000 to

$9,000, 000


Promo Commercials Backing the media buy with please watch our commercials commercials. See #1 . $ 750,000 to $1.5 million


Internet commercials Revisions to item 1 $ 250,000 to $750,000


Internet media buy More support $2,000,000 to $3,000,000


Print & radio ads production Ditto $ 100,000 to $ 250,000


Print & radio media buy Ditto $1,000,000 to $3,000,000


Special XLVI contest Involve potential buyers $125,000 to $250,000


Dealer program Motivate dealers $150,000 to $300,000


NFL experience Game venue events for consumers $ 500,00 to $1,000,000


Dealers at venue events 1st class air, limos, hotel, food, drinks, parties, gifts, souvenirs and of course tickets to the game. $7,500 to $10,000 per dealer. Fifty dealers win.Range of

$375,000 to $500,00 plus spouse if invited


Dealer displays In-store stuff signs, danglers, entry forms. $250 to $500 for every one of  Chevy’s 3,000 dealers$750,000 to $1,500,000


Consultants, PR, special services pre and post game Spreading the news $500,000 to $1,000,000
TOTAL   $12,500,000 to $21,800,000

At the low end of spending that’s a total of $20,900,000, while the top of this estimate is

$27,200,000. Neither of these is chump change or a rounding error. No wonder Ewanick changed the rules.  Translate this to the number of cars that were sold directly as a result of Super Bowl ads next year at is a helluva lot of money to the bottom line.

But I guarantee there are a few advertisers who have or will step in to fill the blanks left by GM’s departure, maybe even another automobile advertiser. And Ewanick’s old employer, Hyundai, has pointedly stressed that it will stay with the Super Bowl next year. There is a cache to Super Bowl ads everywhere except the board room where ROI reigns supreme.

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