Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Cutting Sponsorships The Start of GM Make Over


Taking full advantage of bankruptcy court, and the ability to drop contracts it no longer wants, GM is dumping dozens of sponsorships around the country. From a clock in Times Square to a minor league baseball team in northwest Michigan, General Motors is dropping its logos and marketing messages. It's a smart move and one that shows the company is serious about looking at how it markets the company.

General Motors logo

This is not to say there isn't value sponsoring some of these teams, landmarks, events. Depending on the venue and audience, there is immense value. The issue is GM lacking a coherent strategy. Not surprising, given the patchwork of sponsorships put together by GM over the years.

So the company will pull back and see what makes sense to sponsor, and at what price. Frankly, now is the time to do it. With Vice Chairman Bob Lutz starting a complete review of GM's marketing strategy, the company is looking at new approaches to reaching potential customers. And given the aggressive approach Lutz is promising, the auto maker needs to be creative with what it sponsors and how it does that.

Some sponsorships will never go away. NASCAR? No way. The big pro sports? Doubtful. But some events may not be worth their price tag. Look at the Super Bowl. GM skipped it last year as the company was skidding towards bankruptcy and you could argue it was a wise, cost saving move.

For decades GM has seemingly tried to be everywhere in an attempt to reach everyone. The scatter shot approach has left the auto maker with a message that sometimes works, but more often is vague.

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