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Autoextremist:Entitled provocateurs and other tales from marketing h*ll

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Here PDL AE rant of the week

DateMonday, December 1, 2014 at 06:27PM

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit. There are many examples of “black art” in this business, whereupon almost mythical learnings and experienced subtleties accrued over time are employed in Design, Engineering and Product Development to make vehicles appreciably better, or more focused, or more consistently executed.

My favorite piece of “black art” has always been found in the refined tuning that goes into the machines we drive. How is it that people in product development tasked with imparting the distinctive feel and driving characteristic of a brand manage to deliver that mystical concoction of carefully studied nuances consistently over time?

How is it that the elusive BMW or Porsche “feel” (to name just two manufacturers) can be handed down from generation to generation and through different product development cycles so that drivers can, at least for the most part, testify that it in fact feels like a BMW or a Porsche?

That truly is a “black art.”

I’d love to say that marketing and advertising has its own set of “black art” learnings accrued over time in this business, but that just isn’t true. In many ways an on-target marketing strategy and brilliantly focused advertising execution is the result of having a Big Idea creatively thought out and presented with an enviable level of artistry thrown in for good measure.

It doesn’t always come together as planned when in pursuit of one of these heroic advertising campaigns - as a matter of fact there are far more misses than hits - but when it does it can deliver memorable, effective advertising that’s talked about and socialized exponentially. And it can elevate a brand to a level that separates it from the rest of the pack.

In reality it’s also true that some marketing and advertising is the result of throwing concepts and ideas up against a wall to see what sticks, stumbling into what’s worth pursuing and moving forward from there.

And there’s nothing wrong with that in the least, because that has been how some of the greatest ad campaigns in history have come to life. But it isn’t “black art.” It’s inevitably the result of ferocious creativity, a relentless passion for an idea - and the ability to recognize that idea as something worth pursuing in the first place – and then a confluence of ingredients that many times are at odds against each other but instead come together just right to see the concept through to a successful fruition.

I bring this up today because there are two furious marketing controversies boiling up to the surface this week. One, concerning Cadillac, which I’ll get to in a moment and which just won’t go away, and the other has to do with Mercedes-Benz and its mismanagement of its AMG performance brand.
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Carpetbaggers and hustlers shovelling tons of bluster while careening wildly from one ludicrous marketing concept ("we are a luxury brand that happens to sell cars") to another while their attention should be on product, product, product. Why does the auto industry over and over again hire these Ron Zarella-type idiots and then actually, improbably, give them authority to muck things up?

They even KNOW it sounds like a joke. The joke is unfortunately on GM and the toilers, the journeymen (and women) who report to work every day and, while rolling their eyes at every moronic executive utterance, put in a full days work trying to move the chains down the field.
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Interesting insight into the marketing side of the business. It explains why Chevrolet and Cadillac have been so sporadic and disjointed when it comes to their marketing focus.
Interesting insight into the marketing side of the business. It explains why Chevrolet and Cadillac have been so sporadic and disjointed when it comes to their marketing focus.
What focus?
just-imho MB should
-- bring out a PURE sport appearance package (dunno if they did already)
-- change the name from AMG to Omg and ^ Ømg
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