Chevy Embraces Creatives: watch out for those sharp teeth!
Tara has a great article on Chevy's 'create a commercial contest' for the Tahoe brand of ubersized SUV's that serve little purpose other than to take over the role that Jaguar once did for those with fears of inadequate equipment. The story is a must read for everyone, as is watching the actual user created commercials which are over on news.com
On top of it all, her post contains all the right elements of an exceptional blog post that people can look to as a case study.
1. It is informative - she told me something I did not see elsewhere
2. It is entertaining - she was clever with her delivery and the story itself is actually quite amusing
3. It is engaging - I wanted to share it with you and talk about it
4. It is educational - her advice for Chevy to embrace the vitriol rather than hide from it is spot on
In response to her earlier call for suggestions to rename "Pinko Marketing", I wish it could just be called "marketing", but that term has been tainted like a used car salesman in a loud suit. In a very real sense, she is really talking about "Cluetrain 2.0" through the lens of the Web 2.0 era. I don't honestly know what is wrong with simply referencing the original Cluetrain Manifesto, other than marketing the 'New' "New". Don't get me wrong, I respect Tara immensely for what she has done and she fully embodies the core principles of the Cluetrain in her blog and her work, but I am in the camp with those who don't think Pinko Marketing is the right phraseology for helping more people to "get it".
It feels a lot to me like the original statements Chris made about "Open Source World Domination" before he changed it to the more powerful "Liberation". I just don't see anything remotely "Pinko" about it, it feels more like "Real", "True", "Authentic", "Genuine" or "Honest" might be most appropriate. Steve Wrubel calls it "Open Source Marketing", which may be accurate, but is not simple or fun enough to catch on - or perhaps it is, we will have to wait and see.
This reminds me of what I have often told people about the 'marketing' of BrainJams - "If you mean to say that I am trying to reach those people who will get the most benefit from what we are doing, than yes, we are marketing. If you mean to say we are trying to sell our ideas to more people to just get better numbers, than no, we are not marketing." Unfortunately, for too many people, marketing has come to mean the latter, rather than the former. As I have been telling people through my work on "The Communications Strategy", the goal is not to get sales for the sake of sales (though this is what is still taught at most business schools). The real goal is to find customer's who can obtain the right value from what you are offering and deliver that value while creating a reasonable profit to sustain and grow the organization. The job of marketing is to identify the unique needs of those specific customers and be of service to those needs.
The bottom line is to understand that people are talking about what they are talking about and your company can't control the conversation any longer and you can't ignore what is being said when it is not favorable. Companies need to, as Pat Riley said in his book, "embrace the ugliness" and just deal with it head on. Either you take your stand in righteousness when others are misinforming the conversation, or admit you have a real problem and deal with it as Tara suggests.
With regards to Chevy, it will be interesting to see what there response is to this, and if any of the vaulted General Motors' Bloggers will respond. As of this moment, they are sticking with the contest.