Revolution Replaces Rock

General Motors' Chevrolet division is scaling back use of the long-running Like a Rock marketing campaign as the company introduces 10 new products in the next 20 months. Only the Silverado fullsize pickup will continue the Like a Rock tagline. The new marketing pitch An American Revolution will represent both Chevy cars and trucks in TV ads. The new ads are accompanied by Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet

General Motors' Chevrolet division is scaling back use of the long-running “Like a Rock” marketing campaign as the company introduces 10 new products in the next 20 months.

Only the Silverado fullsize pickup will continue the “Like a Rock” tagline. The new marketing pitch — “An American Revolution” — will represent both Chevy cars and trucks in TV ads.

The new ads are accompanied by Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride.

“Frankly, with 10 new products, if not now, when?” Kim Kosak, Chevy general director-marketing and advertising, says of the new theme.

When indeed. In a world where brand identification is everything, unless you live under a rock, it's hard not to think of brawny Chevy pickups whenever Detroit rocker Bob Seger bellows his now-infamous song.

Both Seger and Chevy have gotten a lot of mileage out of the wildly successful slogan. Still, many people, including Seger admirers, will breath a sigh of relief not to have Like a Rock pounded into their heads with every Chevy truck commercial.

Say what you want, it has to be one of the longest-running auto marketing themes, debuting as a tagline for Chevy fullsize pickups in 1990.

In the world of automotive marketing, that's quite amazing. The closest thing that comes to mind is Toyota's “Oh, What a Feeling” theme. Mazda tried with its “Zoom-Zoom” slogan, but a strong sense of brand identification has never really taken hold.

And some campaigns are dead on arrival, as in the case of Chrysler's $14 million Celine Dion singing endorsement. An argument can be made that it wasn't the pop singer's fault the brand message didn't get across so much as the way the ad was shot, showing too much of her, too little of the debuting Pacifica.

Heads still turn when Dion belts out the compelling Drove All Night. But company executives insist it was the failure of the ad and not overpricing that stymied the launch of the vaunted new cross/utility vehicle.

It will be interesting to see if Cambell-Ewald's $100 million-plus “An American Revolution” campaign does for the Chevy brand what “Like a Rock” has done for its trucks or, more recently, what Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll has done to rejuvenate Cadillac's image.

But the real challenge will be whether Chevy and its advertising agency can best themselves, outdoing the former stalwart Chevy brand campaign “Heartbeat of America.”

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