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CEO – “I Wanna Be in Pictures!”

September 11, 2009

ed whitacre
From Automotive News:
“Lee Iacocca scored big as a TV pitchman. Dieter Zetsche and Bill Ford didn’t.
Now Ed Whitacre, the U.S.-installed chairman of GM, is set to become the latest auto chief to blow his own company’s horn when he kicks off a TV ad campaign that will eventually focus on GM’s four surviving U.S. brands.”

Add this to the fail roll of CEO-centric marketing. Will a domestic auto buyer listen to a transplant CEO from AT&T? Iacocca excelled as a pitchman because of his success at Ford and his turnaround of Chrysler. Dave from Wendy’s worked cause he was a fat guy who knew his way around a burger.

The pure ego play comes with additional negative implications. It also makes for a snooze-a-roony of an ad campaign. Cue the CEO in front of a white backdrop or on a stroll through Central Park. It’s the safe play for the CMO, why should the boss care about ROI when his vanilla mug is plastered all over Times Square?

In a world where Ed Whitacre sells cars, Don Johnson sings.

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