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Something's Wrong With GM, Not Facebook or the Super Bowl

Stocks in this article: GM FB RIMM AAPL

And, when you dare challenge one of the big three, a mix of retired union men, folks right out of an All in the Family episode and ardent Michigan natives brand you everything from un-American to certifiably insane.

Defenders of General Motors make me curious. On one hand, gaggles of people despise Facebook for one hysterical reason or another, yet some appear ready to die for a company that rode a government bailout to record profits. Something's not right.

I am not pronouncing GM dead. I am just saying to keep your eyes open before making the company's stock a long-term play.

Clearly, GM thinks it can find a way to use advertising more effectively. But, as it changes course, it seems to be questioning everybody and everything but itself. It claims Facebook ads do not translate to vehicle purchases. It thinks a Super Bowl ad has become too expensive. It has found a new ad buyer. And it fired a whole bunch of creative agencies. GM points fingers in every direction, but not in the reflection it sees in the windshield of the underwhelming Chevy Volt.

Meantime, consider Ford's (F) view of the landscape via this blurb from a Reuters article:

Ford also is boosting its spending on Facebook, including ad buys.
"You just can't buy your way into Facebook," said Ford spokesman Scott Monty. "You need to have a credible presence and be doing innovative things."
More than 20% of Ford's marketing budget is spent on digital and social media ...

Ford and most other automakers find that Facebook serves them well, as they attempt to connect with a younger audience, boost name recognition and reimage their brands. GM doesn't seem to be able to wrap its very large collective head around this concept.

The differences in opinion between GM and Ford look something like the philosophical divergence between Steve Jobs and Jim Balsillie. We all know how that ended. Stay alert. We might just be witnessing another member of the old guard too stubborn or unable to adapt to the new ways business gets done.

At the time of publication, the author was long FB.
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