Ok, we go to Paris for a week, come back and the whole world's gone to hell. First we have Sean Hannity pitchin' GM products on the air as part of GM's "You're A Great American Car Give-Away." The give-away has Hannity announcing three names of listeners on his show, and if they call in by 6 the next morning, they win a choice of three GM products.Then we have the liberal blogosphere blowing up all over the place. Now to make things more muddled we've got Mark LaNeve, marketing head of GM, wading into the middle of a flame-war over at the bra-burnin' Think Progress. Didn't his mother ever teach him not to go jumpin' into no flame-wars — he's only gonna get his ass burned?
Despite the rhino-through-the-back-gate approach, we do applaud LaNeve for trying to make nice with the liberals he's thoroughly pissed off by advertising with a right-wing talking head like Hannity. But his argument...
...is probably not going to do much good. That's because LaNeve's argument is:
"GM is the biggest advertiser in America and to tell our story we advertise across a tremendously wide array of media trying to connect with all Americans irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliations. We just want folks to experience our products."
In effect, LaNeve's saying that GM's just trying to sell shit and they don't really care what they're advertising on, as long as they've got butts planted in the seats and watching. The problem is the liberals are then going to ask questions like:
"If a lot of people are wearing KKK robes, and a lot of people are watching them, would GM advertise on them?"
And this is where GM's problem is — they're thinking in terms of numbers and not in terms of image. A guy like Hannity's kind of a quack...just like people equally crazy on the other side of the political spectrum. But if GM allows themselves to be connected to that type of a promotion...and in that type of a way (like the advert below), they're basically saying GM's a company that's all for supporting whack-jobs like the guy sitting next to them. That's gonna alienate a hella lot of people.
But we feel like this is part of GM's strategy...especially in a red, white n' blue market like trucks. That's because this is all coming on the heels of the new Silverado marketing campaign — the "Our Country, Our Truck" veritable Amerigasm of mom, apple pie and consumerism. Given that, it seems there's an argument to be made that the General from Detroit's looking to go after Ford and Dodge's market share by trying to out-American them — a much easier task it would seem than it would be to go after Toyota's new HD entrance into the truck-o-sphere in a head-to-head. Better to go after the low-hanging fruit, and as I'm sure the General's found through market research — the low-hangin' fruit listens to folks like Hannity. And by low-hanging fruit, we mean the folks entirely susceptible to stupid gimmicks like a car and truck give-away as a reason they'd buy into a brand. We mean, come on, that's why they're listening to Hannity to begin with, right?
GM hires Sean Hannity [MichiganLiberal.com]
GM Hires Fox News Mouthpiece Sean Hannity As Spokesman: LaNeve's Response [Think Progress]