According to the Wall Street Journal, Joel Ewanick, GM's marketing chief, immediately realized that GM was getting its butt kicked in the Super Bowl commercial race. After seeing the Chrysler commercial, Ewanick knew that the Volkswagen "Vader" and Chrysler commercials would be the most talked about Super Bowl commercials the next day.
Ewanick quickly sent an email to his marketing team instructing them to purchase keywords on Google. This meant that every time someone searched for "Imported from Detroit" on Google a paid ad from Chevrolet would appear at the top of the page. The team also purchased "Darth Vader" in order to capitalize on the Volkswagen's commercial.
Ewanick said, "We did the right thing to ride the wave...Someone said, 'Gee, they did better than us.' But we did better because of them."
There is no question that GM played this well. Its ads focused on the product and then it rode the wave online from the competition's ads.
Some would call this a win-win situation. Do you think GM played this smart or should its ads have been more viral from the start?