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GM adopts new Chevy ad campaign to suit global audience

The General Motors logo is seen outside its headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan in this file photograph taken August
The General Motors logo is seen outside its headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan in this file photograph taken August

By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co is dropping its "Chevy Runs Deep" marketing campaign in favor of a tagline that GM officials said would better resonate with consumers around the world.

The new tag, "Find New Roads," is the automaker's first attempt at a global message for Chevrolet, one of two brands that GM is positioning as a global brand. The move comes as GM prepares to launch 20 Chevrolet vehicles worldwide.

The slogan also reflects a change in the brand's customers, who are increasingly located outside the United States. Ten years ago, the U.S. market accounted for about 70 percent of Chevrolet sales. Now, it makes up 36 percent, said Alan Batey, head U.S. sales and global marketing, in an interview.

"It's very simple," Batey said of the new slogan, adding that its connotation may differ within various countries or among buyers of various models. "It means different things to different people in different segments of the market."

The first ads will appear in the United States this quarter and will later roll out around the world. This is the first campaign from Commonwealth, a joint venture of two of GM's largest ad agencies, Batey said.

GM and Commonwealth worked on the campaign for about six months, Batey said, adding that the new tagline will also serve as an internal rallying cry, or "North Star," for GM employees to focus more on product development.

Chevrolet's ads traditionally have had a patriotic tenor. In the 1970s, GM rolled out its "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet" campaign, followed by "Heartbeat of America" in the 1980s.

"Chevy Runs Deep" was the brainchild of Joel Ewanick, who was fired last year as GM's head of U.S. marketing. The campaign was intended to celebrate Chevrolet's history at the time of its 100-year anniversary.

But critics said the campaign failed to connect well with customers. GM officials said the new tagline would do better in the more than 140 markets that sell Chevrolet cars and trucks.

"We have sold Chevrolets around the world for almost a century, but this is the first time we have aligned behind one global vision," Mary Barra, head of GM product development, said in a statement on Tuesday.

(Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by David Gregorio and Steve Orlofsky)

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