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'Chevy Runs Deep' Runs Out Of Steam

Screencap from Chevrolet's 'Chevy Runs Deep' ad

Screencap from Chevrolet's 'Chevy Runs Deep' ad

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Over the years, Chevy has had some memorable marketing slogans. “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet,” for example, conjured up symbolic images of American life, while “like a rock” spoke to the durability of Chevy’s trucks.

Chevy runs deep,” its most recent attempt at a marketing slogan, is just confusing. Despite the automaker’s attempts to explain how that signifies the long term relationship between the brand and American culture, most Americans simply don’t understand it.

In fact, since the slogan was introduced last year, it’s done nothing to boost showroom traffic. It’s “maintained the brand,” in advertising-speak, which is another way of saying that it’s kept the public from forgetting that Chevrolet builds automobiles.

If you’re playing along at home, it’s easy to lose track of how many ad agencies Chevy has gone through in recent years. Campbell-Ewald, Chevy’s long term agency of record (and the creator of the two memorable slogans referenced above) was kicked to the curb in early 2010, in favor of Publicis. Publicis created the “excellence for all” slogan, which made sense but was hated by chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick.

Publicis lasted just a few weeks as Chevy’s ad agency, which brings us to the automaker’s current slogan generator, Goodby, Silverstein and Partners. They’re the agency behind “Chevy runs deep,” and now they’ll be tasked with reinvigorating the ad campaign to draw customers back into Chevy dealers.

Chevy’s recent string of ad agencies isn’t its only marketing misstep of late. Last year, Chevy spent about 24 hours trying to convince the public to call it Chevrolet, before relenting and saying that Chevy was OK, too. Just last month, Chevy said it wanted to make the brand more like Apple, despite the fact that Apple is marketing driven, while Chevy is market-driven.

If we could make a suggestion, it would be this: get rid of the “Chevy runs deep” slogan, since no one will ever warm up to it. Go back to the days where slogans made sense, and appealed to the sentiments of the consumer. Above all, remember this: high-quality cars at reasonable prices, not advertising jingles, bring customers into showrooms.

[The Detroit News]
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Comments (10)
  1. Always been a fan of this brand! Stylish yet innovative cars.

  2. Goodby's such an awesome advertising agency -- if this was 1995. Now it's loaded with a bunch of dopey hipsters -- most of whom don't even drive. Good luck getting a bunch of fartheads who don't even know how to check the air in their tires (if they own a car) to know how to persuade people to buy them. Ewanick just isn't the right guy to move metal for GM. Even the Cadillac ads suck.

  3. @Mr. Nuts, I've noticed that Cadillac is now repeating their TV ads from a few years back, pushing the CTS-V as "the world's fastest production sedan."

  4. Cadillac's leaving a golden opportunity on the table by not using comparison advertising to drive home the same point in a more effective manner. Just showing a car driving around the Nürburgring isn't enough to drive this point home. Lining up a CTS-V, BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 then asking people "which one is fastest" -- then aggressively pointing out to the people selecting the German cars that they're wrong would punch through the clutter and drive the point home. Just selling a handful of CTS-Vs in not enough -- changing the perception of the Cadillac brand and gaining market share at the expense of its competitors is. I don't see Chevy doing it. Cadillac certainly isn't doing. Buick? Because of the product and product alone.

  5. we have the "Love This Chevy!" commercial in my country which is the Philippines

  6. Dinah Shore - 1957

    See the USA in your Chevrolet
    America is asking you to call
    Drive your Chevrolet through the USA
    America's the greatest land of all

    You can't beat that Kurt

  7. @Carl, I wonder how many people know who Dinah Shore is these days?

  8. Their current lack of focus is not surprising considering that defact CEO Obama has ZERO business experience.

  9. I find it interesting that no one has questioned the relationship with the agency and ewanik. There is also the fact that ewanik hired his cronies from hyundai to follow him to GM namely his college room-mate. Wonder what kind of payola is going on there.

  10. The Chevy Runs Deep "like father like son" Silverado ad is fantastic. Well acted, subtle, good music. The look on the kids face when his Dad drives into the driveway is priceless. This ad looks like it was done by Don Draper of "Mad Men." Absolutely fantastic. Better than Apple commercials. An award winner.

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