The man behind a Chevrolet ad campaign that spawned a particularly hilarious, long-running spoof almost from day one has left the company, Automotive News reports.

Chevrolet ad chief Paul Edwards took a walk Thursday, with General Motors replacing the brand's U.S. marketing VP with Steve Majoros, currently the bowtie's director of cars and crossovers marketing.

According to a company spokesperson who spoke to AN, Edwards left GM today to pursue other opportunities. A longtime employee, Edwards served as director of advertising and sales promotion for Chevrolet from 2007 to 2010, moving on to become executive director of global marketing for GM. In 2014, he switched to the role he vacated today.

The automaker has not yet announced a replacement for Majoros' vacated post. Majoros joined the company in 2013 and accepted the Chevy cars and crossovers file the following year. Before joining GM, Majoros spent 25 years at marketing firm Campbell Ewald.

Currently, Majoros is busy touting the new C8 Corvette, which entered production earlier this week.

"If you can anticipate customer needs and expectations and deliver on those, the world's an easier place and it's a better place. That's good for us," Majoros told AN at this week's Chicago Auto Show. "It's good for dealers and good for customers. If we can take that approach and cascade it across all of our models, which we're starting to do, I think that's a positive thing."

Edwards may best be remembered for the "Real People, Not Actors" campaign, which featured - among other scenarios - telegenic strangers attempting to identify the make of a partially concealed Chevrolet vehicle. The "real people" were quick to misidentify mainstream Chevy sedans as big-bucks imports.

YouTube soon became home to a series of parodies titled "If 'Real People' Commercials Were Real Life…," starring a Bostonian protagonist named Mahk.

Edwards shrugged off the criticism, telling Ad Age in 2017, "In the last 25 months we have learned a tremendous amount, not only on the campaign equities itself and how to fine-tune it and keep it fresh but also on the power of focus and alignment and consistency over time."

The "Real people" ads were young at heart and didn't take themselves too seriously, Edwards said, adding that it delivered instant brand recognition among viewers. That was something missing from Chevrolet marketing efforts for some time, he said.

first published by TTAC