Lots of chatter about General Motors and its ad campaign for the Chevy Tahoe, which let consumers create their own ad campaigns. According to a number of reports, including this one from CNet, stupid old GM totally missed the boat with this one, and got suckered into hosting a whole pile of critical ads about how big and ugly and environmentally unfriendly the Tahoe is, etc.
As is often the case with these kinds of things, Mike Masnick of Techdirt gets it right when he says that it’s not clear GM screwed up at all. In fact, it might be the smartest thing that the almost-bankrupt (financially and creatively) car company has done in a long time. To quote Mike:
“In fact, by then being open about it, GM is getting even more mileage from this campaign, and making it appear that they are more open to listening to those who disagree with them.”
Dominic Jones of Investor Relations Blog is on this side as well, as is AdRants. And Umair Haque, whose in-depth treatises on how to take advantage of “the edge” often make my brain hurt, also believes that CNet and others have gotten it wrong, and that GM is doing the right thing. As he puts it:
“GM’s finally woken up to the fact that it’s brand desperately needs authenticity – and this is a very nice way to end the bullsh*t and nonsense that became branding in the latter half of the 20th century.”
Admittedly, it’s difficult to think of GM as having actually done something smart – or at least avoided doing something stupid. But hey, anything could happen.
The New York Times has a story up about the controversy.