GM a Little Too Enamored of Hollywood in China, Analysts Say

on September 26 2014 | in Daily Headlines | by | with No Comments

Auto makers ranging from General Motors to Great Wall Motor to China Guangzhou Auto are increasingly taking roles on the silver screen to tout their brands. Some even take the lead, with GM’s Chevrolet Camaro portraying Bumblebee in the “Transformers” movies.

But has GM picked up some bad habits from Hollywood?

Possibly, says Jonah Brown, Beijing-based group account director with brand consulting firm Millward Brown.

He says the Detroit auto maker is among the car industry’s strongest adherents to the “launch and leave” school of brand promotion, which he describes as a classic car-marketing strategy.

Auto makers, he explains, launch new models with flashy, highly repetitive advertising campaigns aimed at quickly building awareness among car buyers. This is similar to how movie studios attract people to cinemas.

“But the Chevrolet Cruze is not the latest ‘Transformers’ movie and dealerships are not cinemas,” says Beijing-based Mr. Brown. “People buy cars when they’re ready to, not on car makers’ launch schedules.”

The risk is that in a matter of months after launch new models can get lost in a sea of other new releases by competitors. “It’s incredibly wasteful,” he says.

“All car makers are guilty of this to some extent, but GM seems to ramp up and down in short-lived campaigns the most,” says Mr. Brown.

This approach could be hurting GM in China, especially when contrasted with rival Volkswagen AG, who last year took over GM as the number one foreign car maker in terms of sales.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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