GM's turn from Super Bowl ads creates PR opportunities

DETROIT: General Motors' decision to halt its Super Bowl and Facebook advertising will create more opportunities for the automaker to use traditional PR and social media to promote its brands.

DETROIT: General Motors' decision to halt its Super Bowl and Facebook advertising will create more opportunities for the automaker to use traditional PR and social media to promote its brands.

“In terms of looking at what we will do other than the Super Bowl, we haven't determined that yet,” said Pat Morrissey, director of product and brand marketing at GM. “But there will certainly be an opportunity to communicate our products and brands though a lot of different outlets, including more of the traditional PR channels.”

He explained that the company has advertised during the NFL's championship game for years, but “it's gotten too expensive.” GM reportedly spent $83 million on Super Bowl advertising from 2002 to 2011. Advertisers spent $3.5 million for 30-second ads during this February's Super Bowl XLVI.

GM filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2009, and emerged from the process shortly thereafter. This February, the carmaker reported a record annual profit of $7.6 billion in 2011.

The decision to drop its Facebook advertising came after a review of GM's media spending, which occurs on a “regular basis,” Morrissey added.

However, GM's moves do not mean the company is decreasing its advertising spend.

“We are not reducing our overall advertising spend,” said Morrissey. “Our advertising budget is essentially flat. All we're doing is reallocating where we're going to spend our money.”

He added that the company will continue to spend 25% to 35% of its advertising budget on social media, and it will “look at opportunities to be even more integrated with PR, advertising, and marketing.”

Morrissey explained that the content on GM's Facebook pages is created by the company's communications and marketing teams to ensure the messages are consistent.

In September 2011, GM launched a campaign for the Chevrolet Sonic entirely using social media, said Morrissey. “We went from September to January with no traditional advertising,” he said. “The car has gotten a lot of exposure with the right target market by being very strategic with social media.”

The company also promoted Chevrolet's 100th anniversary last October through an integrated campaign including centennial webisodes on YouTube, as well as Facebook and Twitter promotions.

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