Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

Two Super Bowl lessons from GM February 10, 2012

I realize I’m late on this topic, but if the NFL fans, players and sportscasters can continue replaying the Super Bowl, so can I.

Lesson #1

By now, the feud between GM and Ford is no secret. GM’s Chevy Silverado commercial that aired during the Super Bowl took a direct stab at the safety of its competitor, Ford. Here is the ad:

The ad runs for 38 seconds before any mention of their competitors. The funny thing is that even without the stab at Ford, it was a really good commercial. It poked fun at the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse and the fact that, as Zombieland proves, Twinkies will survive the Apocalypse (unless they go bankrupt). Why not leave it at that?

Instead, Ford has taken offense to the advertisement and formally requested that the video be taken down. According to the Wall Street Journal,

“In a statement, Ford said, ‘We do not agree with some of GM’s claims in their ad, particularly around durability. What’s important is that Ford is proud to be the best-selling truck in America for 35 years, the best-selling vehicle for 30 years and the only brand with more trucks on the road with more than 250,000 miles – demonstrating just how durable our trucks are in the real world.'”

As much as both parties would like to believe their advertisements had a direct impact on consumers’ choice in which vehicle they were going to purchase, the truth is, there are a lot of factors that drive that decision. Despite hurting their competitors feelings, this particular ad ranked 12th on USA Today’s Facebook Super Bowl d meter scores. Not too shabby.

Lesson #2

I had the opportunity to be in Indianapolis the weekend before the Super Bowl and visited the NFL Experience, presented by GMC.  I was really impressed with GMCs booth inside the NFL Experience- so much so that my boyfriend deemed me a big dork for how interested I was in their advertising efforts.

We were drawn in by a GMC girl who encouraged us to sign up to get a bracelet that allowed us to get three different NFL player’s autographs. The line was short so we said sure. We answered a few quesetions on an iPad about all GM vehicles. The questions attempted to identify what car we wanted, when we wanted it and would we like more information? Yeah, yeah… we just wanted autographs.

We then were handed a post card with two questions on it. We had to go read about the Yukon and Acadia to answer the question and receive our bracelet. I thought that was genius. They pulled us in with something we wanted, got our information and forced us to interact with the cars they had on display. Smart.

The autographs were in a larger tent because the line was so long. Here, the same promotion was going on as in the other area, but we got to skip it and turn in another card to see if we won a prize (we did not) and then waited in a short line to get our time splice photo taken (mine is here).

They then asked if we wanted to share our photo via social media. Uh… duh! I posted my photo to Facebook and Twitter using their iPads again. Instantly, I promoted GMC to everyone I knew. Smart.

We never got the autograph we did all the work for, but did have fun at the photo opportunity. Plus, we found James Laurinaitis in another area of the tent signing autographs and, being from St. Louis, it was more exciting to meet a Rams player than a Colts player.

I think GM had a great presence at the Super Bowl and even though the low blow to Ford was completely unnecessary, their advertisements that day, and at the NFL Experience, were successful. Or, maybe I’m just a social media/marketing dork.


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