GM Will Increase Marketing Budget in 2009 and 2010

By Brendan Moore


gm-logo-small1GM announced that it plans to significantly increase its ad spending for the rest of 2009 and all of 2010 in order to attack assumptions now held about its cars and trucks.

Specifically, GM wants to change negative perceptions about quality and fuel economy regarding their vehicles. GM, and Bob Lutz, GM’s new marketing head, feel that GM has a great story to tell about its improved lineup – a story that Lutz feels hasn’t been told effectively by recent advertising on behalf of GM.

GM spent $1.81 billion USD in 2007 in advertising, which is the last year numbers are available for; 2008 ad spending took huge hits, and 2009 dropped even more as a result of bankruptcy. GM has dropped many sport sponsorships this year, including the Buick Open, and had also declined to advertise during the upcoming Super Bowl.

No numbers or percentage increases were mentioned concerning GM’s planned increase in marketing expenditures in the next 16 months.

It is no secret that Lutz plans to run ads directly comparing GM cars to their competition, even if some competitors’ feelings get hurt in the process. The question is how those ads will be shaped.

Lutz has been deeply critical of recent GM advertising that he feels was vague and unfocused. The recent Buick ad set in a studio where a Buick commercial was being filmed came in for special criticism from Lutz. “It makes me cringe to watch,” he said. “Car ads about car ads, it seems to me are not what we should be doing.”

Lutz did say, however, that GM would keep using its current lineup of large advertising agencies that includes Leo Burnett Group and Campbell-Ewald.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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  1. Let the product speak for itself. Instead of wasting billions and billions of our MONIES trying to convince us that their product isn’t total garbage, why the hell won’t they back it up with oh, you know, SUPERIOR PRODUCTS? That money would be better spent allowing for better materials in their cars and greater chassis’ to build upon. Even the mainstream press is saying that being on par with everyone else isn’t good enough. The cars that GM are to produce need to be EXCELLENT if they’re going to change anything for the buying public and be able to CATER to their needs like so. Case in point, the G8 was a nice touch okay but what the hell were they thinking with that? We enthusiasts are a stingy and whiny lot that often bemoan and cry about cars we can’t get but once it does arrive, suddenly, we don’t put out. Hah.

    Not import riding but look at Toyota (Celica, Supra, MR2 RIP) and Honda (S2K is dead and NSX hasn’t had a real update in a decade), or hell, even Hyundai (barring the new Genesis coupe). Despite being looked down upon by us petrolheads, they’ve managed to understand their target audience and respond accordingly. Exciting they are not but we’re not their core market. Everyone else is. Our country is being filled to the gills with Camcordnatas because that’s what the general buying public wants.

    GM can try spinning their shit as being rosy and all but we all know that most of their products, if not their entire line, is absolute shit. Stop trying to convince us it’s something else.

  2. “we all know that most of their products, if not their entire line, is absolute shit.”

    No honest appraisal of GM’s product line could reach this conclusion. Your statement seems to be guided by emotion, not facts.

    GM has some great cars, some average cars, and, some below-average cars. And that is fact, not emotion.

  3. A classic case of an irrational GM-Hater, still living in the pst.

  4. Marketing is not going to erase all the bad vibess people have about GM cars anytime soon. Maybe great products for another uninterrupted decade might do it, though. I know it needs to be done, but I think the marketing goal GM wants might be a little high at this point in time.

  5. Please, take the money and spend it on new product!

  6. If you think GM isn’t aware their reputation is in the ditch, you’re crazy.

    They know, and they know they have to start repairing it sometime.

    You have to start so you can finish, even if that finish is a decade from now.

  7. they need to adopt their products with each market that they want to target it, they just adopt their products with US market and their peoples need they should be more flexible…

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