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The Roundup May 8 Madmen Edition

Since the auto industry is the number one media advertiser in the world, there’s alot of madmen who are going to get really mad when GM and Chrysler go bankrupt.

In Chrysler’s Chapter 11 filing last week, Omnicom Group’s BBDO Detroit is listed as its second-largest unsecured creditor, owed $58.1 million. It’s believed, however, that the bulk of that money is owed not to the agency but to the media for purchases made on Chrysler’s behalf. . . .

Interpublic VP-Chief Financial Officer Frank Mergenthaler said on the company’s first-quarter call with analysts last week that receivables, work in progress and committed media for GM stood at roughly $150 million at the end of February and that figure “is still a relatively good number” for the scope of the holding company’s exposure to the automaker.

(“GM, Chrysler Bankruptcies Could Leave Shops Holding $300 Mil Bag,” Advertising Age, May 4) Those are just the big guys. As Lear says about great rocks rolling down hill, there are tons of smaller agencies that are going to be dragged down with this one. Expect both Chrysler and GM to emerge from this deeply skeptical about Godzilla ad budgets and much more receptive to new, online marketing models. That means that you may not have to be in the advertising blue chip circle to get a seat at the table.


And speaking about Godzilla advertising campaigns.

Whoever said mass marketing is dead never worked at McDonald’s. The master of the McBlitz is about to outdo itself with its long-awaited national campaign for its new coffee line, touted as the biggest launch in its history — no small feat for a company that regularly drenches consumers in marketing.

While the Golden Arches won’t detail how much it’s spending on McCafé, the new product platform is expected to receive an outpouring of more than $100 million fanned out across TV, print, radio, outdoor, internet, events, PR and sampling beginning early this week. There’s a lot riding on that budget: McCafé is expected to add about $1 billion to McDonald’s Corp.’s bottom line in the U.S. — about $75,000 per restaurant — and the chain is banking on national advertising to realize that lofty financial goal.

(“,” Chicago Business, May 4) Boy, it feels like old times again. The marketing, aside from those stupid how-to-speak-with-an-accent ads, is pretty flawless, leaving Starbucks to play a pretty piss-poor defensive game. The nice thing about ordering coffee drinks at McDonalds is that they’re not going to force you to learn a bizarre new language with words like “venti” and “frappucino.” Walk up to the counter and say, “I’d like a large latte, please,” and the person behind the counter will actually understand you . . . or correct you. I still don’t know what the hell a “venti” is and refuse to use words other than “large,” “medium,” and “small.”


Since we brought up Starbucks, it’s not just you who thinks they suck.

A survey by Brandindex, a daily measure of brand perception by the London-based firm YouGuv taken from January to April, found that some brands, like Starbucks and General Motors’ Hummer are not convincing consumers that they offer value.

Starbucks suffers from similar issues. “Starbucks has almost become a punchline for a joke regarding a $4 cup of coffee,” Marzilli said. “A lot of the other brands, like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts for example, have really gone hard at Starbucks. [They are] trying to make people take a step back by saying, ‘People, is $4 for a cup of coffee what you really want to be spending your money on?’”

The top value brand, meanwhile, was The History Channel

(“Hummer, Starbucks Rated Lowest for Value,” Brandweek, May 8) It’s a pretty sorry state when Starbucks ranks down with Hummer in terms of value (and lower than AIG!), pretty much making Starbucks a vanity purchase for egotists. Well, you already know my opinion about Starbucks. Sorry, I think the stupid, dumbo, retarded ads about accent marks for McDonalds is going to beat the full-page whining, defensive read-a-thons we’re getting from Starbucks.

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