Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Use of "stimulus" in ads is anything but stimulating.

In reading Stuart Elliot's NY Times piece about the word "stimulus" working its way into ad copy, I was shocked that he would even dignify the practice by putting it on the page. We all know the word "stimulus" or the phrase "stimulus package" are being splattered throughout the marketing landscape to an alarming degree. 

It is appalling to me that major advertisers - Ford/Volvo, CBS, Carmike Cinemas and others Elliot mentions - are sinking to this level of copy-cat nonsense. Industry analysts may dignify it by labeling it "borrowing interest" but that's just more crap. And clients - shame on you for taking the path of least resistance. Do you want something unique and different, or just derivative, unoriginal crap?

What to call the new, post-bankruptcy Chrysler Corp?

On the subject of what the name of the new, post-bankruptcy Chrysler Corporation might be, how about an amalgam of the various brands associated with Chrysler over the years - something like "ChrySotoJeepPlymNashEagleDodge." 

Considering the rather absurd condition of the American auto industry these days, I submit to you that doesn't sound absurd at all!

So-long to The Chief.

Now that it's official, GM will be shedding the Pontiac brand after a hundred years (acquired by GM in 1909, no kidding), I must say the news is not at all surprising, and it is long overdue. Sure, there are many car nuts out there who love the marque, but as a brand, Pontiac never really found itself. 

Way back in the day, Pontiac was at Ground Zero of the muscle car trend when Mr. Delorean stuffed a big motor with 3 carbs on top into a Tempest. In the following decade, the Firebird Trans Am was all the rage. Looking back on that disco-era monstrosity with a giant bird decal on the hood, four tailpipes and acres of plastic chrome, it's no wonder this brand has been in so much trouble for so long.

What did the Pontiac brand stand for? In practical terms, it was the move-up brand from Chevy. Problem was, model year after model year, consumers bought the Chevy or went straight for the imports.

Styling used to be a strong point for the Pontiac brand, but in recent years, the GM stylists were either half asleep - check out the G-6, G-8 family's styling - just boring - or on psychodelic drugs. For a while there, the cars had so many bumps, spoilers and other 'boy racer" doodads that you would have thought they were targeting 13-year-olds.

I guess that's what killed the Pontiac brand. Damn those 13-year-olds for not being old enough to drive!