Goodbye Super Bowl, hello Hallmark Channel.
General Motors agreed to spend money in the TV upfront negotiations but came away with deals that moved its advertising out of top-tier networks and shows and into less expensive units, the New York Post learned.
GM, which still counts the government as a shareholder, is trying to get more bang for its advertising buck and was pressing for a 20 percent cut in CPMs -- cost per thousand eyeballs. The carmaker has an annual advertising budget of $1.8 billion. Of that, Kantar Media reported, GM spent $1.1 billion on TV in 2011, a 7.6 percent year-over-year decline.
Joel Ewanick, GM's global marketing chief, has been a loud critic of both spiraling ad costs and of ads that do not work -- an approach that could risk the firm's position as the sector's No. 1 media buyer.
Carmakers spent $13.9 billion on TV ads in 2011, up 6.3 percent from 2010.
Ewanick ruffled feathers when he pulled the entire display advertising budget from Facebook just ahead of the company's public offering -- AdAge later reported that GM had wanted to take over pages, a move Facebook would not allow.
Just days after the Facebook news, Ewanick said GM would exit CBS' Super Bowl, citing its exorbitant cost. Ads are selling for $3.8 million per 30-second spot.
It is hard to say whether it got TV executives to budge much on price. "In order to help them save face, there were offers of multiyear deals and dialing up the tonnage and dialing down the quality," one executive familiar with GM's buys said.
To rev up its ad power, GM added dollars with less expensive networks, including Discovery's Investigation Discovery and Crown Media's Hallmark Channel, sources said. GM said it is not spending less money overall.
In one example, GM -- traditionally an advertiser on the Golden Globes -- agreed to a new sponsorship of the much-smaller BET Awards for its Chevrolet brand, according to reports.
A spokesman for GM told the Post, "We have remained consistent in our position that we will not talk publicly about our negotiations with the networks."
Reps at Discovery and Hallmark declined to comment.
Read more: New York Post
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