Sunday, April 19, 2009

Michigan Dealership Gets Politically Charged

This post is running a week behind schedule. I ran across an article in last week's Detroit Free Press showcasing Les Stanford Chevroloet Cadillac in Dearborn, Michigan who released a new advertisement attacking Alabama Senator Richard Shelby. In Michigan automotive circles, Senator Shelby is Public Enemy Number One. Shelby was very outspoken during the Detroit Three congressional hearings earlier this year and late last year. For example, "We're wasting our time trying to keep them alive," he is shown saying in one ad.

So, it was local news when a dealership edited in some of Shelby's comments in their dealer TV advertising.

From the Detroit Free Press: "The ads are the work of the Sussman Sikes agency in Southfield. Owner Alan Sussman, who describes himself as "the last angry man in America," said in the 1940s and 1950s, Shelby's anti-Detroit rhetoric would have been considered treason.

'What's wrong with an autoworker making $100,000?' Sussman asked. 'This is America.'"

I'm not too sure how effective this approach is. On one hand, it probably attracted some additional traffic to the dealership, especially if a Cadillac buyer was cross shopping dealerships and may have added Les Stanford to their list because of the spot and it resonating with a heavy local GM employee and retiree population.

The negative aspect would come from a group probably not too interested in bailed out companies like GM or Chrysler. There certainly are a lot of Americans dissatisfied with taxpayer dollars being spent on bailout after bailout, and this ad further inflames this group.

I'm sure this strategy plays better in Michigan. I wouldn't suggest it to an Alabama dealership or anywhere else outside of the Great Lakes region, but that goes without saying.

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