Thursday, July 05, 2007

Marketing Salute: General Motors

It's so seldom that GM does anything right, that I'm always shocked when they do something "not dumb." Which made it even more noteworthy when they actually latched onto a stroke of genius this summer.

"Transformers" promises to be the monster hit of the summer. As one movie reviewer put it, "It has cars that change into giant robots. What's not to like?"

A completely unscientific tally of people I know who have told me, without my asking, that they're dying to see the movie include 1) the founder of a super hot company, 2) a major business guru, and 3) my wife's *female* friends from work.

In other words, this movie is as hot as anything I've ever seen.

And GM was smart enough to sign up as a major sponsor, which allowed their vehicles to be featured in the movie as the heroic Autobots.

Not only is this great exposure that will win them major cool points, the key here is the emotional attachment that so many men still feel to the Transformers. I have seen Autobot leader Optimus Prime described, without a trace of irony, as an important father figure for a generation of latchkey kids. I can't tell you how many friends I know who still have a lovingly cared for collection of Transformers, including a still-working model of Soundwave.

Editor's note: By "friends," I am actually referring to friends. I'm too cheap to have ever collected Transformers.

By sponsoring this movie, GM is reaching two generations of young moviegoers, ranging from teens to 30-somethings. And it's reaching them at an emotional and visceral level, which may cause folks to forget just how crappy GM cars are.

I never thought I'd say this, but GM, I salute you.