Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chevy Debuts New Site with Some Unthought-Out Clutter

Is the Chevy brand trying to appeal to the Entourage crowd? Maybe it’s the high fashion couch from Target or the slightly loosened preppy boy tie or the arms expanded across the couch that makes me wonder what was someone thinking when they created the new Experience Chevrolet section on the website redesign that debuted yesterday.

It’s kind of funny the main image on the Experience Chevrolet site section (see above image), because the content just doesn’t fit what the image conveys. Instead what you get is a list of Chevy’s promotions with Major League Baseball, Fishing sponsorship, motor sports, and, of course, a few Country music stars thrown in. The partnerships and promotions are very apple pie America and true to the good ole’ boy brand of Chevrolet.

The page also showcases wallpaper downloads, events, social media page links, and awards. The Chevy Fueling Change content shows what Chevrolet is doing to further fuel-efficient products. But it seems all of this is a hodgepodge of content that can’t find a proper home. It’s like that closet in your house where a vacuum cleaner, old purses, light bulbs, stacks of old VHS tapes, and an old camera sit as some holding place without a proper home.

Of course, Chevy is promoting a couple new products. The new Camaro certainly attracts a style conscience muscle car fan with its retro-cool good looks. The new Chevy Volt appeals to a green consumer who really doesn’t fit well into the hardcore American muscle appeal Chevy personifies, but it’s game changers like the Volt that create some new direction for the Chevy brand.

Chevy has always been a mass appeal brand with products like the Cobalt, Malibu and Silverado. Plus they have an iconic halo product in the Corvette. It’s interesting though, now that Chevy is entrenching itself as the broad appeal brand for GM as they keep Buick as a premium brand, Cadillac as their luxury brand, and GMC as a utility brand.

The brand section of the new just lacks a strong cohesive message and seems all over the place. This is part of the problem big brands have when synthesizing their brand into a strong distinct message, because the products are appealing to all sorts of segments. Maybe some better categorization of the content would help strengthen the different appeals the Chevy brand supports.

I just find it odd leading the brand experience section with a young 20-something guy all alone on a modern couch in the highway. Seems to me the Chevy brand is stronger than that, and has an appeal that is much more compelling. Maybe the aspirational target is a younger, single consumer who thinks of himself as trendy? If so, it doesn’t feel authentic. I’m not saying the image had to be a family in the country with an organic farm in the background. The page just needs an image showcasing the board appeal of the brand and less the just out of college Enterprise Rent-A-Car employee.


Michael Karesh said...

People keep telling me that GM doesn't need all of the brands it's been cutting because Chevrolet can cover all of the bases. For years I've thought GM should have narrowly targeted all brands save Chevrolet, to give each a very focused image. But apparently there's no real value in doing this, or so people tell me.

Unknown said...

Brilliant post and great writing. Now I'm confused why your question over at about the Honda, Rhymes & Reason website was so... well, uninformed? Were you just having fun? Dude you are obviously very smart. You know this car market inside out. But when you asked about the African American targeted site it seems you threw all the sophistication out of the window. I'm not trying to be mean or a jerk, so my most sincere apologies if I come off that way. I just want to understand. So help me out here. Because the markets aren't all that different, when you get down to it. Maybe it's discussing more things like this that will help more people understand each other.

Unknown said...

Craig, thanks for a great reply on your site and for calling out my laziness. No, I wasn't having fun. I actually have a serious question that I'll rephrase and post on your site later today. I was just being lazy in my first attempt. Probably shouldn't leave blog comments past midnight? I was just looking for information about the Honda site and left a rather banal, unsophisticated comment on your site. Let me try again and we'll discuss it further. Oh, and no offense taken. In fact, I smiled reading your post because re-reading it this morning my comments were uninformed.

Unknown said...

If anyone wants to follow the discussion Craig Brimm and I are having on Honda's Rhymes & Reason minority marketing site, checkout Craig's blog post at:

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