Why Ford is Family Orientated and GM Sucks!
The following comes from the Autoextremist
"The 100th Anniversary of The Ford Motor Company. One of the most remarkable corporate stories in history is being honored this week with Ford celebrating a century of existence and a century of being part of the basic fabric of this country. But limiting this celebration to being only a corporate story would be completely unfair - and wrong. The Ford Motor Company, more than any other American corporate icon, has been about the family - and the people who worked with and on behalf of that family. This isn't about some soulless enterprise like General Motors, which went out of its way to stifle their characters in an unrelenting bureaucracy whenever they could. It's about a company that was transformed by personalities - good and bad - throughout their history. Real people with real dreams - and real flaws too. Around here it's never referred to as "The Ford Motor Company." It's referred to as "Ford's." As in, "She works down at Ford's." Or, "He's over at Ford's now." And that means that in this town, it has always been about the Ford family - and the legacy of the man who turned mass production into high art in order to put this country - and the world - on wheels. It's a source of pride in this town that "Ford's" is run by a Ford and that the company is a owned by members of the Ford family. And the people who work for "Ford's" like it that way. Other car companies lost their connections to their original founders long ago. But it's not the case with the Ford Motor Company. For our money, Bill Ford Jr. has the toughest job in the auto business right now. He isn't just working on behalf of the immediate Ford family - he's working on behalf of generation after generation of families who owed their livelihoods to "Ford's." And if you want to know just what a burden that is, check out this week's issue of Newsweek for Keith Naughton's excellent piece entitled, "Bill Ford's Rainy Days," where he gets Bill to open up in a remarkably candid interview. The most telling quote is when Bill says, "I feel like I'm carrying the weight of the legacy," he says wanly, "and the hope of the future." Try to celebrate and have fun this week, Bill - you and your family deserve to soak in the history and embrace not only the Ford legacy - but the warm embrace of a countless number of families who worked down at "Ford's" over the last century.
GM. When we criticize GM marketing, there are still some blind loyalists down at "The Tubes" who insist we don't know what we're talking about and refuse to accept the Bare-Knuckled, Unvarnished, High-Octane Truth. Last week, we hammered GM's new "Road To Redemption" ad campaign as being ill-conceived, ill-advised and just plain dumb. This week, Bob Garfield, the resident and well-known advertising critic for Advertising Age weighs in, writing, "How strange. GM's past institutional blunders -- born of arrogance, misjudgment and sheer bureaucratic paralysis -- have been thoroughly documented. But what is revealing and altogether new about this anguished mea culpa is the ongoing failure it reflects: GM's utter ineptitude as a marketer. This is a company that consistently fails to divine the desires of the marketplace and translate them into the right product for the right time. It is a company that, having spent decades and billions achieving quality parity, is unable in its ordinary divisional promotion to communicate that achievement to the world. And it is a company with priceless brands containing unimaginable reserves of equity -- equity inaccessible to the owners who can't seem to find the combination to the vault. So now they're telling us this isn't your father's General Motors ... and we're supposed to believe them? We don't believe them." Sounding like an AE staff member, Garfield closed his commentary out with the following: "Genuine change is not accomplished via sloganeering. It is accomplished in design, promotion, warranty, brand development and all that you do. Not all that you say; all that you do. This would mean, for example, understanding that the Vortec 4200 inline 6 engine your ads boast about is rendered unimpressive by an SUV interior fabricated cheaply out of plastic. It would mean understanding and tirelessly communicating the difference between Pontiac, Chevrolet and Buick, and letting that difference -- not corporate infighting or factory capacity or dealer bullying -- solely determine what you make and sell. It would mean, in other words, completely changing the way GM does business. But that's hard, and expensive. Talk is easy and cheap -- which perfectly describes this campaign." We've been hammering GM relentlessly about their pathetic attempts at marketing since Day One of this publication. From the bad-old days of the corrosive John Smale-led P&G jihad as executed by Ron Zarrella, which, for all intents and purposes, decimated the corporation's ability to market anything, to today - when GM thinks that great marketing consists of yet another deal wrapped in an admission about past quality transgressions. No company has done less with more marketing and advertising resources than GM has in the last ten years. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: They need to blow up their marketing and advertising departments and start over. These people have squandered every last opportunity given to them, and they have almost nothing to show for the almost $10 billion dollars they've spent over the last decade. Ironically, now that more and more GM products are actually moving toward legitimate competitive respectability, they're stuck with a bunch of inept marketing managers who wouldn't know an idea if it ran over them - on that road to redemption. Until GM fixes their basic fatal marketing flaw, they will continue this insidious cycle of misguided campaigns, ball of confusion marketing and blown opportunities. What a mess. ""