April 04, 2012

Nobody Learns Anything

The very first post I wrote for this blog almost 5 years ago was called Aiming Low and was about marketers' unrelenting stupidity at targeting young people in advertising.

A few months later I wrote a piece about Pontiac mindlessly doing exactly that:
According to Ad Age, Pontiac is shifting its advertising efforts toward media that appeal to younger audiences such as video game tie-ins, Web ads and spots on sports channels and late-night shows.

The logic of this is perfectly idiotic and, as such, perfectly in line with the brainless reflexes of so many marketers... A few facts:

1. The average Pontiac buyer is over 50.
2. Baby Boomers and older comprise as much as 80% of the market for new cars.
3. Of the 13 cars the average American will buy in a lifetime, 8 will be bought after they're 50 years old.
4. Even if they want a Pontiac (which they don't and never will) young people can't afford new cars, and no lender in his right mind will finance them.
Now that Pontiac is dead and buried (huge surprise!), General Motors, having learned nothing, is in a big push to apply the same brilliant strategy to Chevrolet.

According to The New York Times, General Motors has hired MTV (Ohmygod, how cool is that?) to teach them how to sell Chevys to young people.

But unlike Pontiac, which only pissed away media dollars, Chevy is flirting with frittering away its whole culture on people who don't buy cars, don't want cars, and can't afford cars.

According to The Times...
"The partnership (with MTV) is intended to transform things as diverse as the milieu at the company’s steel-and-glass headquarters, the look of its Chevrolet cars, the dealership structure and the dashboard technology. Even the test drive is being reimagined, since young consumers find riding in a car with a stranger creepy..."
You wanna talk creepy?  Listen to this...
"Mr. Martin (the MTV guru-in-charge) has recruited what he calls “insurgents,” young Chevrolet employees who are willing to change things from the inside and report to him on skeptical executives."
What a great idea! An internal Gestapo ratting out non-compliant employees. The Cultural Revolution comes to Detroit.
"Last summer, (the MTV) team temporarily transformed part of the G.M. lobby into a loftlike space reminiscent of a coffee shop in Austin or Seattle, with graffiti on the walls and skateboards and throw pillows scattered around."
They can keep their damn coffee, where's the weed? By the way, it just doesn't get any cooler than Seattle or Awestin.
“We tried to teach dealers how to calibrate conversations”
Yeah, that oughtta work. I can just hear the training session now:
MTV: You really need to learn how to calibrate conversations...

DEALER: Calibrate this, asshole.
A lot has changed since I started this blog 5 years ago. But one thing will never change: Marketers' brainless, pathetic pursuit of young people.

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