OK. You’ve had a week or so, now. It was on the World Series. They’ve got the bank robbers driving that old Oldsmobile, the one that the chick crossing the street runs into. (Actually, it’s a 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass, the one cloned from an earlier version of the Malibu. Isn’t that ironic?).
And exactly what has Chevrolet communicated about the new Malibu?
$150 million dollars has been committee by General Motors to a multi-media advertising campaign to introduce the new Malibu, with the idea that it will be in everyone’s consciousness by the time they are done.
What they should have invested in is a sales campaign. The people in whose minds they need to make an impression are the people who might buy it.
It is not human nature to respond well to being told that you cannot do something. It’s certainly not natural for any red-blooded American. Can’t do it? Wanna bet? So, why Chevrolet has chosen this approach is a mystery.
It’s not that the car doesn’t have some attributes that can be sold. The base car has a lot of nice features for less than $20,000 delivered. But they haven’t told you what you get for that price. The top of the line car is loaded for $27,000, but they haven’t told you what you get for that price, either.
For Chevrolet, it’s a double mistake. Not only is telling potential customers what they can’t do an error, it’s also blowing an opportunity to create an image for the car. If they can’t tell us what it is, they could at least tell us it something desirable.
Toyota and Honda have images profoundly cemented in the public conscious. Were you to ask where Toyota falls on a scale of 1 to 10 in reliability, it would undoubtedly be near the top. Ditto on economy. Ditto on Honda. That Toyota is, in fact, currently making shoddy and unreliable product doesn’t hurt them because it’s not really sunk in to the public mindset.
Not only does Chevrolet lack a positive public image, it actually has a negative one. It’s a cheap car, as in cheaply designed, with cheap materials, and cheaply constructed. At best, it’s an afterthought car, one bought on price which will suffice: the Impala, for example. 
Yes, the ad men are correct that Chevy’s have been ignored. But that’s not been because the public made a volitional decision to do so which they can now be talked out of. It’s because the cars got the attention they deserved.
If GM really wants to sell the new Malibu, they need to tell us why we should be paying attention to it.
They’d be better off airing the YouTube video of Bob Lutz showing off the door handles and the hood cut line than running the current ad campaign.
And, here’s the proof:
Which car made a clearer impression on your mind when you saw those cute new Malibu ads? The car the bank robbers were driving and that the chick ran into? Or the new Malibu?

Ralph Kalal
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  (372) posted on 10.31.2007

Hadn’t seen the ad so I ran over to YouTube and found a scratchy version. I’m gonna admit that the ad doesn’t grab me the same way as the Geico Cavemen or even that little whippesnapper Warren Wallace does. But I wouldn’t call it total a disaster. I get the point of it. But you’re right. Why use another GM product to demonstrate a forgettable vehicle? However true that might be...What I would do is higher the same ad company that does the Buick Enclave ads. Now those guys can sell a car.

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