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GM Says It Won’t Advertise During Next Super Bowl Game

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson
General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said yesterday, “Europe remains a work in progress.” Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., which announced plans this week to cut Facebook advertising, said it won’t run ads during the next National Football League Super Bowl championship game.

“We understand the reach the Super Bowl provides, but with the significant increase in price, we simply can’t justify the expense,” Joel Ewanick, the company’s global chief marketing officer, said yesterday in a statement on the automaker’s website. The statement didn’t provide specific figures. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

GM’s decision to eliminate Super Bowl and Facebook ad spending coincides with Ewanick’s efforts to reorganize the company’s marketing efforts to increase efficiency and save $2 billion over five years.

Changes this year have included picking Aegis Group Plc’s Carat as the company’s agency for media planning and buying, and consolidating the Chevrolet brand’s ad business under one newly formed company called Commonwealth. Chevrolet had previously used 70 ad agencies around the world, the company has said.

“Along with its other recent high-profile decision to cut paid advertising on Facebook, GM’s new global ad agency Commonwealth is sending the message that there is a new advertising sheriff in town,” Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Edmunds.com, a website that tracks auto sales, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

“Some might even read into this move as a way for GM to cut more costs, boost its share price and make it appealing for the U.S. government to sell its stake in the automaker to allow it to shed its ‘Government Motors’ moniker,” she said. The U.S. holds a 32 percent stake in GM because of a 2009 bailout.

GM Ad Plans

Separately, Hyundai Motor Co. said it still plans to advertise in next year’s game.

“We’re in the Super Bowl for 2013,” Steve Shannon, the company’s U.S. chief marketing officer, said yesterday in a statement. “It’s a perfect venue for Hyundai.”

GM isn’t cutting its ad spending and the automaker plans to advertise on NBC during the Olympics, Pat Morrissey, a company spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “We are not reducing our advertising,” he said. “Looking ahead at 2012 to 2013, we’re forecasting to be flat or if anything slightly up” in such spending.

The automaker spent about $1.8 billion on advertising in the U.S. in 2011, third after AT&T Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., Jon Swallen, head of research at Kantar Media, has said.

GM slid 2 percent to $21.18 yesterday at the close in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Southfield, Michigan at thiggins21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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