Michael Jackson was hired by General Motors in 2000. In 2006, he was made the VP of marketing and advertising. Less than a year later, he retired. In a recent column in Automotive News, he wrote a commentary calling on the bankrupt automaker to "overhaul marketing," saying "GM needs passion and creativity – not incentives." Now, in an interview with Advertising Age, he says that GM's bureaucracy doused the fire of innovation.

His specific indictments were that "U.S. operations have too many layers for approval of ads," that GM is a "bureaucracy of meetings culture," that GM put "engineers and finance people with no marketing training in key marketing positions," and that GM doesn't "treat its ad agencies like partners but rather as vendors. If an agency doesn't fall in line with the marketer's demands, the client threatens to move the business." That turned agencies into factory stampers that would "present work they know will get approved, not cool, risky creative."

We can all see how that could have been true at GM. Yet before anyone aims the truncheon at GM, as one of the Ad Age article commenters wrote, "Mike Jackson's comments are emblematic of many large, lumbering companies that place process above performance." Anyone who understands the comic strip Dilbert knows exactly what Jackson speaks of. If his sentiments are accurate, it doesn't excuse what GM has become, but it's certainly fair to say that the automaker is far from alone. The point of bankruptcy is to let GM start over. Hat tip to Grahm!

[Source: Advertising Age]


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