The price of converstion is worth it

The Times reports today that when Chevy opened up a site for people to remix Chevy Tahoe commercials, some folks used it as a chance to make snarky anti-SUV ads. Now you’d expect this story to end with Chevy’s ad agency backing up fast, killing the commercials, striking back at the unruly mob, and praying not to get fired. But no:

A spokeswoman for Chevrolet, Melisa Tezanos, said the company did not plan to shut down the anti-S.U.V. ads.

“We anticipated that there would be critical submissions,” Ms. Tezanos said. “You do turn over your brand to the public, and we knew that we were going to get some bad with the good. But it’s part of playing in this space.”

Well, bravo. That’s not only right, it’s smart. It’s the realization that the public owns the trust put in brands and you can’t try to get into the conversation and then shut half of it off. Besides, it’s not as if any of these subversive spots are going to convince SUV drivers to reform their ways. You can bet that SUV fans will enjoy defending their vehicles of choice. It’s like the Republicans hoping that the Democrats really do try to censure Bush; it will only bring out more Republicans to the polls. I don’t care what you say, just spell the URL right.

: LATER DISCLOSURE: A few hours after posting this, I got notice from Federated Media of an ad buy from… GM Planworks. It’s a different campaign but in the interest of full disclosure, it’s the related to the same big company. I also know people at GM Planworks at introduced them to About.com, where I consult, for a pitch.

  • Clinton

    Now thats the spirit of free speech. kudos

    Its gradeschool psychology that compels us to answer even the silly insults that are flung at us.

  • http://cityzenjane.wordpress.com Cityzen Jane

    There’s nothing ‘silly’ or ‘insulting’ (can a car be insulted?) about using Chevy’s site to highlight GMs insistence on building and promoting an unsustainable and harmful product.

    Kudos indeed for not pulling the plug. However, they still make a god awful product.

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  • Angelos

    Um, the links I had bookmarked to the snarky ads don’t work any more.

    Were they killed, or was it just a bandwidth crunch?

    I’ll try again tomorrow, I’ve stared at a computer enough today.

  • http://www.wingercomics.com/ Carson Fire

    Somebody on my blog says that a lot of the anti-SUV Tahoe ads seem to have been plotted on DemocraticUnderground, and they’re angry that some of their ads were taken down; but that it turns out that some ads have been taken down not for being anti-SUV, but because the DemocraticUndergroundians couldn’t resist *swearing* in their ads.

  • http://www.wingercomics.com/ Carson Fire

    That’s a bulshit alert for Jeff, btw. This is a clear case of Chevy suppressing political bullshit! Er, I mean, suppressing Democrat’s bullshit politics. No, that is, bullshit as politics when used by… oh, never mind.

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