Marketing Salute: General Motors

It’s so seldom that GM does anything right, that I’m always shocked when they do something “not dumb.” Which made it even more noteworthy when they actually latched onto a stroke of genius this summer.

“Transformers” promises to be the monster hit of the summer. As one movie reviewer put it, “It has cars that change into giant robots. What’s not to like?”

A completely unscientific tally of people I know who have told me, without my asking, that they’re dying to see the movie include 1) the founder of a super hot company, 2) a major business guru, and 3) my wife’s *female* friends from work.

In other words, this movie is as hot as anything I’ve ever seen.

And GM was smart enough to sign up as a major sponsor, which allowed their vehicles to be featured in the movie as the heroic Autobots.

Not only is this great exposure that will win them major cool points, the key here is the emotional attachment that so many men still feel to the Transformers. I have seen Autobot leader Optimus Prime described, without a trace of irony, as an important father figure for a generation of latchkey kids. I can’t tell you how many friends I know who still have a lovingly cared for collection of Transformers, including a still-working model of Soundwave.

Editor’s note: By “friends,” I am actually referring to friends. I’m too cheap to have ever collected Transformers.

By sponsoring this movie, GM is reaching two generations of young moviegoers, ranging from teens to 30-somethings. And it’s reaching them at an emotional and visceral level, which may cause folks to forget just how crappy GM cars are.

I never thought I’d say this, but GM, I salute you.

6 thoughts on “Marketing Salute: General Motors

  1. Anonymous

    I absolutely agree with your post. I myself am very eager to see the Transformers movie for I remember having relished the animated series when I was younger. This step by GM is the smartest thing the company did since it was first founded. However I would preferred GM to be replaced instead by a Japanese car company like Toyota or Honda as the show itself originated in Japan. Other than that I can’t say I have any complaints. SEE THE MOVIE!

  2. Phil

    Can’t wait to see the movie! Heard that it’s going to be an amazing ride!

  3. Justin K

    Yes the movie is truly THAT awesome. Its out for a week and I’ve seen it twice already. And that coming from someone who hasn’t seen a movie twice since.. I can’t remember when.

    And yes, it was a brilliant move on GM’s part. This movie is definitely a triumph for brand/product placement. Other brands I’ve noticed include – eBay, XM (which is strange since BumbleBee was using XM with an analog radio 😉 ), Nokia, The Boombox (forgot the brand) and
    the US Military (I’m sure this will help with the recruiting)…

    The other brands that made a cameo but I’m not sure if you’d consider that ‘placement’ include Taco Bell, XBox, Mountain Dew (the vending machine) and… Hostess Ding Dongs!

  4. Cesar

    I agree with almost all your review. Just one thing is quite far from real… GM cars are not that crapy. The vehicles in the movie are just the “halo” vehicles that GM has, out of the screen they also have some good cars (The Aura, the new Silverado, The Enclave, The new Vue, The Acadia, etc… all these are new vehicles). As a marketing tool it is Great!!! I can not remember when was the last time I felt excited about 2 cars in a movie (when the Camaro and the Mustang fight…). Hopefully, the movie is not only going to make people see that GM has great machines, but also great mainstream vehicles.

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