GM marketing chief resigns

The automaker claims that Ewanick failed to meet expectations.

By Benzinga Jul 30, 2012 12:00PM
Image: Los Angeles, Calif., traffic on Interstate 405 © VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesBy Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer

Auto giant General Motors (GM) has parted ways with its Global Marketing Chief Joel Ewanick, saying that he "failed to meet the expectations that the company has for its employees," according to Bloomberg.

In the two short years Ewanick was with General Motors, he made the decisions to stop advertising on Facebook (FB) and during the Super Bowl. These moves were supposed to save billions of dollars, but the company now believes that they have had a negative impact.

Benzinga reported in May that General Motors was pulling its advertising from Facebook because it believed that paid ads on Facebook had little impact on car sales. The move raised questions about Facebook's ability to maintain 88% revenue growth.

Estimates suggest that, prior to the decision, GM had spent $10 million on Facebook advertising. Even though it measures revenue in billions, any company would be unhappy to lose that amount. But it wasn't the immediate sum of money that no doubt worried Facebook the most, it was the possibility of other companies following suit.

"It's not unusual for us to move our spending around various media outlets -- especially with the growth of multiple social and digital media outlets," GM said in a statement in May. "In terms of Facebook specifically, while we currently do not plan to continue with advertising, we remain committed to an aggressive content strategy through all of our products and brands, as it continues to be a very effective tool for engaging with our customers."

GM said in a company biography that Ewanick "was responsible for improving the positioning of the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands and consumer consideration of GM vehicles in the United States."

Ewanick made his name at Hyundai, developing the Assurance Program that allowed customers to return their vehicles if they lost their jobs. He was highly praised for this: Automotive News named him marketing all-star of the year, Brandweek called him marketer of the year, and Forbes dubbed him chief marketing officer of the year back in 2009.

That's all academic now though, with General Motors deciding that Ewanick failed to meet expectations. The company has seen him make some bold moves that haven't immediately paid off and Ewanick has paid the price for those perceived failures, which begs the question: Will GM's next hire be more conventional?

General Motors was trading up roughly 3% Monday morning at $20, but pared its gains by midday.

More from Benzinga
Jul 30, 2012 2:54PM

Wonder if he was the guy behind the advertisement for Cadillac windshield wipers withstanding air pressure due to speeds of 190 mph.  First of all, who cares about windshield wipers at 190 mph.  Who in their right mind would drive a Caddy, or any car, at 190 mph.  And, is that really the selling point of a Cadillac.  I thought it was luxury.  Didn't make any sense then.  Obviously others missed the point also.

Jul 30, 2012 3:19PM
This guy was in charge of the : BUY A CADILLAC, GET ASPHALT:  campaign,  guess he got asphalt
Jul 30, 2012 3:11PM
Bought a caddy and a chevy over the weekend.  Neither purchase was due to advertising; as a matter of fact, haven't seen any ads.  They were bought because GM stood behind 2 previous puchases and our satisfaction with those vehicles.  Quality has changed significantly since the 80's & 90's.  As long as they continue on this plane, there will be no more BMWs,MBs, or Acuras at my home.
Jul 30, 2012 7:21PM
Jul 30, 2012 5:27PM
gtotogo must be one of those Caddy drivers that poke along with 400 plus hp under the hood, hello Caddy's are expensive hot rods since the "northstar" came out. My Lincoln Town Car is a "luxury" car, they never got the message from Cads strong sales that "led sleds" were out! Hello....can you spell Lexus, BMW, Mercedes? 
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