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Chevy Runs Deep - A New Campaign for GM's Biggest Brand

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author photo by Autotrader October 2010

Chevrolet advertising gets a new look this month from its new ad agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, San Francisco.

General Motors Co.’s volume brand, which celebrates its 100-year anniversary next year, taps into its heritage in new national TV commercials that all end with the new theme “Chevy Runs Deep” and the brand’s long-time bowtie logo.

The first four commercials all show historic or recreated, vintage-looking footage of people with their old and new Chevrolets and tap into the brand’s role as an iconic American brand that’s been around for important moments in our lives. The new work has a new tone that’s confident without bragging and tries to combine the emotional and rational.

The new ad agency created a new 60-second brand anthem commercial that briefly talks about the birth of Chevrolet and moves into the present, with models like the plug-in Volt. “We’re bringing more technology to more people than ever in our history,” says the narrator, actor Tim Allen, hired a few months ago to do all the voiceovers. He elaborates a bit on the technology, saying Chevy is “inventing new ways to get around the planet, while preserving it.” He mentions Chevrolet’s safety and design. “This isn’t just any car company. This is Chevrolet.”

Chris Perry, who arrived about seven weeks ago as vice president of Chevrolet’s marketing from Hyundai, said the goal of the new campaign is to bust Americans’ misperceptions about the brand. “A lot of people, like me based their perceptions, honestly misperceptions, about Chevy on the car they had in college or their neighbor’s Corsica that kept breaking down.

But, he said, the controversy generated this summer by a leaked internal memo mandating the brand use only Chevrolet, and not Chevy, in all its messages, showed Americans’ fondness for the brand. “That’s the soul we need to ignite.”

Chevy sold 1.174 million new-vehicles in the first nine months of 2010, a 19% jump from 2009, a disastrous year for both GM and the entire industry. Chevy’s market share rose a full point in the same period to 13.6%, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Chevy was the nation’s second best-selling auto brand behind Ford and bested the industry’s average of 10% for year-over-year sales increases.

A trio of new 30-second TV spots focuses on Americans’ “shared moments” and the role Chevy vehicles have played in them over the decades. One shows people bringing home their newborns in a Chevy; another a montage of Chevy pickups with dogs and the final one owners with their first Chevrolets.

Perry said the campaign will be on-going, with some future commercials focusing on specific products.

Chevrolet isn’t trying to wrap itself in the American flag, noted Joel Ewanick, vice president for all GM’s U.S. marketing. “We have a soul our strongest competitors don’t have and we want to celebrate that,” he said.

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Chevy Runs Deep - A New Campaign for GM's Biggest Brand - Autotrader