GM TV commercial thanks American public for bailing them out but are we buying it?
December 2, 2010
General Motors is running a remarkable TV commercial dramatizing its near collapse and subsequent rise. It’s an anthem depicting various semi-famous Americans who’ve fallen during the course of their careers and then valiantly gotten back up. For example, we see Evil Kenevil wipe out something fierce and then later in the spot, with help, get up. We also glimpse the dejected frat boys from Animal House (the movie) followed by a piece from John Belushi’s notorious rallying cry. There’s Popeye the Sailor pre and post spinach. Finally, the iconic photo of President Truman holding up the newspaper saying he lost the election. The images are cut to a lovely piano concerto. The lone super reads: We all fall down. Thank you for helping us get back up. (GM. Since 1908)
In terms of emotional filmmaking, it’s a nice piece of work. But is it a good idea? I’m not sure but I do applaud them for owning their failure as a company…sort of. The American taxpayer was obligated to help GM, whether they liked it or not. Billions of dollars. My understanding is that they have since paid us back. But does that give America’s biggest car company the license to thank us? Shouldn’t they have apologized for tripping themselves up at everyone’s expense? Maybe they did. Perhaps the better question is whether we ought to accept this image building campaign for what it is: a token of gratitude.
If the goal was quiet bravery then score. But underneath all that tear-jerking honesty is the legitimate image of arrogant old men ruining a company and lining their pockets in the process.
Apologizing for failure is vogue right now. Look at what Dominoes Pizza is doing. In addition, social media lets brands be blue and true and then LOL. Famous people keep screwing up and asking the public to forgive them. Christ, it’s like our country has become one big confession booth. The cynical takeaway: Forgive us for our sins and get 20 percent off your next purchase.
From what I’ve gathered, General Motors is on the rebound. Good for them. Good for us, too… right?