Chevrolet image isn’t as easy as apple pie says marketing chief Joel Ewanick

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Many of Chevrolet's marketers were disappointed when General Motors Co.'s new marketing chief Joel Ewanick scrapped the new "Excellence for All" tag line last month. However, the company defends this move, saying that nothing is better than the wrong thing. Meanwhile, its biggest rival, Ford, is fast gaining momentum in sales and image.

Ford is also getting higher sales with cars such as the Taurus. It's unfortunate that when potential buyers think of Chevrolet, they think about its mistakes, including its Rust Belt aura of poor quality.

Since Ewanick joined last month as General Motors Co. marketing Vice President, he has been had at work to define a new identity for Chevrolet, GM's topselling brand.

The brand isn't in major trouble but Ewanick is focused on getting it absolutely right. The Chevrolet marketing team, now being led by Jim Campbell, has been quickly switching top executives and ad agencies.

Earlier this month, many scoffed at the current team's move to discourage the use of the iconic Chevy nickname. What's become apparent is that Chevrolet's marketing strategy to emphasize heartland values isn't working.

Chevrolet, whose sales account for 72% of GM's 2010 sales through May, has to be able to keep loyal customers who prefer domestic brands as well as attract new buyers, who are likely to relate the brand to bad experiences.

Analyst Rebecca Lindland of IHS Automotive said that Chevy has to "evolve," which doesn't mean that it has to leave behind that heritage, but it could mean "leaving behind some baggage."

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