GM – Brilliant Super Bowl commercial; horrible referral mechanism

My favorite ad of Superbowl LXI: GM’s “We’re Obsessed with Quality”. A yellow assembly line robot makes one mistake too many, and sadly, has to be let go. The hapless robot is reduced to minimum wage jobs holding signs and working in fast food. His descent is made all the more hard to bear as he watches shiny new GM cars pass him by on the street. The robot decides that it’s not worth going on, and jumps off a bridge as the background music plays “All by myself”. As the robot plunges into the river to his watery end, he suddenly wakes up from his nightmare to find that this was all a dream and he still lives and works on the GM factory floor. The voice-over announces the GM 100,000 mile warranty has everyone at GM obsessed with quality.

So far, so good. They’ve created a commercial that tugs at the heart, at the same time gets their message across about quality. But then, when I wanted to email the ad to a friend, GM fell flat on its face. My first step was to locate a clip of the video. I first went to YouTube, but it wasn’t available there yet. In doing a Google search for it, I discovered that it was on GM’s own site. Nice. And I saw that there was a link to send the video to a friend. So I clicked that. The resulting page asked me for four things: My name, my email address, the recipient’s name, and the recipient’s email address. I thought it was a bit odd that there was no box to send text along with the video, but I didn’t think twice about that, and sent it off.

When my friend replied back to me, I was completely shocked to discover that GM had put words into my mouth in association with the sending of that video. I would have understood if GM had put a couple of sentences along with the link to the video, if GM had attributed their words to themselves. But imagine my surprise when my friend replied to the email, and I discovered that GM had attributed their words to ME! And put an asterisk at the end of a sentence denoting a footnote, no less! Fortunately, my friend immediately recognized that the writing didn’t come from me. People don’t write disclaimers when emailing a link to a commercial! Only corporations do!

So the lesson to be learned here is when sending a video, use a trusted source, such as YouTube. The fact that GM is trying to control the message is only hurting them, not helping them. It shows they are stuck in the 20th century, in a command and control mindset, and haven’t yet fully embraced today’s 21st century consumer-empowered, wired world. It’s truly bizarre that the message starts out with “I just saw” and ends in the last paragraph with “we may use that e-mail address”.

Here is the text that GM attributed to me:

Check out this TV spot I just saw at It’s called “Robot” and it’s about how even the robots at the GM factory are taking quality seriously – probably because of GM’s new 100,000-mile/5-year transferable powertrain warranty*. I thought it was pretty funny, see what you think.

Watch the commercial at

* Whichever comes first. Limited warranty. See dealer for details.

Forwarding this message to you from your friend did not add you to the GM promotion e-mail list. However, if you provided us your e-mail address, or we received it through some other source, we may use that e-mail address in accordance with our privacy statement at

Isn’t that amazingly slimy of GM to do that? If they had provided a text template which I could then edit before sending, that would be fine. But to send text on my behalf without my knowledge is just wrong.


One Response to “GM – Brilliant Super Bowl commercial; horrible referral mechanism”

  1. Butch Holley Says:

    Morriss, it just goes to show that although GM may have had millions to develop and place this ad, they couldn’t afford the common sence needed to handle public opinion. They wanted you to relay their message – intentional or not. Just a thought – what if you wanted to tell someone about the commercial and that you didn’t like it? I’m no attorney, but I think we might have a case of misrepresentation here…

    BTW, I added your Blog to my Blogroll.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: