General Motors’ advertising has been blasted by the auto giant’s own executive director of corporate marketing and advertising, Christopher Fraleigh.

“Overall, there is not a relentless pursuit of the absolute best work, both here and at our agencies,” complained Fraleigh, poached from PepsiCo in January [WAMN: 05-Jan-01]. “Average isn’t good, average is bad.”

Fraleigh – whose remit covers the integration of national and local ad efforts – insisted that GM is not about to change its agency roster, although he added that the auto maker’s shops “could be more tireless in their pursuit of excellence”. GM’s agencies include McCann-Erickson, Lowe Lintas & Partners, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Campbell-Ewald Advertising.

The red tape surrounding ads was one problem Fraleigh cited: “You want more than one person involved and at some point you want to get consumer feedback, but having a lot of people and a lot of iterations, you kind of lose the [fragility] of what’s usually a great idea in advertising.”

Another shortcoming was the research into ads: “We’ve got a very robust process for measuring the effectiveness of advertising, from a quantitative standpoint. But pulling out some of the softer sides of things, the qualitative aspects, is a little more of an art.”

GM, desperate to shore up its falling market share, spent $2.8 billion on advertising in the US last year.

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