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Video: Chevrolet Kicks Howie Long To The Curb (For Now)

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Screencap from the 'Scavenger Hunt' ad for the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox [by Publicis]

Screencap from the 'Scavenger Hunt' ad for the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox [by Publicis]

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2010 Chevrolet Equinox

2010 Chevrolet Equinox

Enlarge Photo

General Motors has seen a lot of changes in the past year: new staff, new board -- heck, technically speaking, it's a whole new company. GM has also begun using a new ad agency, Publicis, for much of its Chevrolet lineup, and the differences are immediately apparent in the latest spots for the Chevrolet Equinox, Malibu, and Traverse.

Apart from things like setting and tone, devoted Chevrolet fans will notice two things missing from the new Publicis campaign: Chevy's "An American Revolution" tagline and spokesman Howie Long. We're ambivalent about the first one -- it was kind of an empty phrase -- but the second item is welcome news to some folks here at TCC, who've had issues with Long over the years.

To be fair, our problems with Howie Long haven't stemmed from the guy's performance so much as the scripts he's been given. See, most of Long's commercials involved bashing other brands (calling them out by name) while touting Chevrolet's quality, fuel efficiency, and so on. It's tough to do that without coming off like a jerk, and it's even tougher to make people remember the brand you're promoting while forgetting the ones you've critiqued. Long was...not always successful.

In lieu of imposing spokesmen and grand taglines, Publicis has opted for a simpler approach: showing everyday people (well, okay: everyday models) using the vehicles as they're meant to be used. Our favorite is probably the spot for the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu called "Dependable Friend", where one woman rescues another from a date gone wrong. Unfortunately, that clip doesn't seem to be playing on YouTube right now, so here's another one called "Scavenger Hunt", which gives a fun, 360-degree tour of the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox by showing viewers the SUV instead of telling them about it. The difference is subtle but obvious:

It'll be interesting to watch this campaign plays out on the sales floor. The Equinox, Malibu, and Traverse helped push Chevrolet sales up 14% in December 2009 compared to a year earlier. And the individual models saw even greater gains: Equinox sales were up 137% over December 2008, the Malibu rose 34%, and the Traverse, 92%.  That, of course, happened under the supervision of Chevy's previous agency, Campbell-Ewald, which is now relegated to the Silverado and the Chevy's retail showrooms (which GM is encouraging dealers to renovate, but apparently without the incentives offered by Ford). We'll see if Publicis' ads can maintain Chevrolet's forward momentum.

[BrandWeek, YouTube]

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Comments (9)
  1. "It's tough to do that without coming off like a jerk,"
    WHAT!!!! What the heck is the problem with this? Not warm and fuzzy, eh?Give me a break!
     
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  2. Hey GM instead of getting rid of Howie why don't you get rid of your owners (the president and the unions) and then you might sell some vehicles. It's not your ads, people don't like GOVERMENT MOTORS. By the way Howie was telling the truth about the other manufacturers, nobody builds a truck like chevy.
     
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  3. GM is dropping the tagline "American Revolution". Is Government Motors afraid they will offend someone. Too many liberals pushing too much political correctness.
     
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  4. The President and his lackeys stepped on the Constitution and stole GM from the shareholders and gave it to the UAW. It will never be a viable company again. Shame on any US citizen who buys any product from these defalcators. Howie Long should be thankful that he is no longer associated with such a dishonorable regime.
     
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  5. @Ray: I know it's a complicated concept, but oddly enough, being likable can get you liked.
    As for the rest of you (and I'm guessing you're all the same person): no matter how you feel about the GM bankruptcy/restructuring, it's clear that the tagline and Mr. Long had run their course. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see Howie pop up again in the future -- but hopefully with some different scripts in hand.
     
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  6. Long should be happy,I thought chevrolet was the best all my adult life til I drove the best of both a chevy had to offer and then my friends new ford was so impressed traded in my Z71 for my first ford ever so Long maybe you should give them a try to I did and will likely never go back to the new government funded GM again
     
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  7. Yeah...because Howie Long and the slogan were the reasons my Chevrolet was a piece of crap. No joke, at one point GM mailed me parts to correct a recall. I finally had to upgrade...to a Kia.
     
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  8. Say what you want, use who you want but here's the truth for me.... My 1999 Chevy Z71 4x4 truck currently has 315,434 miles on it. I drive it every day. Didn't have to change the disk brake pads until 215,000 miles. Truck is 95% original parts (from the original purchase). I don't give a crap what anyone says about who's the best, my proof is sitting in my front yard.
     
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  9. No doubt most of you folks who bash GM because of our government's intervention drive Toyotas and such. Well let me bring you up to speed. Toyota gets more help from their own government than GM could ever dream of. Since The Japanese and other Asian producers have bought out the US government in the last few years it is truly a wonder GM or any US industry has managed to survive at all. So please...STFU.
     
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