Is GM Ready to Stay Jiggy With Ads?

David Kiley

I was perhaps in the minority in thinking General Motors' Hummer ad in the Super Bowl was among the best. But I heard a corker from Liz Vanzura yesterday that makes me revisit the game that already seems like months ago.

Vanzura was marketing chief at Hummer when the ad was being made. She recently changed jobs to become head of global marketing at Cadillac.
Vanzura, who has a very good eye and ear for good creative, was speaking to the International Motor Press Association Thursday, and said that the Hummer ad, which depicts a Godzilla-like lizard and giant robot procreating and giving birth ot a Hummer H3 (our little monster) drew suggestions from some GM brass that maybe the lizard should be wearing a wedding ring. Yikes.

She also relatyed a story about an ad (no. 14 at this link under "work" and "tv" drop downs) Hummer agency Modernista created a couple of years ago showing a young boy building a soapbox derby vehicle that looked just like the H2. The soap H2, took the course, and won by driving across the track and down the hill while the others were constricted to staying on the smooth path. Vanzura said that GM product boss Bob Lutz complained that the ad didn't show the real product, and that he was against running it. They stood their ground, it ran, and was one of the most celebrated ads of the year in any category. Lutz, to his credit, e-mailed her after that and admitted how wrong he was.

Lutz, back in 2002-2003 was so disgusted with GM advertising on the whole that he was getting much more involved. That's changed quite a bit. If anyone is wondering why Vanzura, arguably the best set of eyes for good advertising at the automaker, was sent to Caddy instead of one of the more troubled brands like Pontiac or Buck, consider the wretched Cadillac ad in the Super Bowl, which she inherited as she took the job just before the big game.