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Did General Motors just re-friend Facebook ?
Yes, it did. Almost a year after GM dumped Facebook in a move that rocked the advertising world, the social media firm has won back the Detroit auto giant as an advertiser.
Clearly this is a plum for Facebook. But what does it mean for GM?
The Facebook break-up was just one strange move in a series
GM was spending $10 million a year on Facebook ads when its former chief marketing officer, Joel Ewanick, pulled the account last May. That was just one of several controversial moves the colorful Ewanick made during his tenure at General Motors, which ended when he was abruptly fired (on a Sunday, no less) by CEO Dan Akerson last July.
Ewanick had seemingly done a lot of good for the General, making moves to consolidate GM‘s global marketing efforts that were expected to save the company $2 billion over five years. But he had also rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, both inside and outside the company.
Strange moves, like his decision to punt on GM’s traditional Super Bowl ad effort, and the Facebook break-up, didn’t help his cause. While officially, Ewanick was fired for mis-handling the financial details of a sponsorship deal with a European soccer team, there was a sense at the time that frustration with GM’s lackluster U.S. sales was a big driver of Akerson’s decision.
And since his departure, slowly but surely, many of the changes he made have been unwound. GM ran ads in the most recent Super Bowl, it has reversed some of Ewanick’s changes to its longtime ad agency structure, and now it’s going back to Facebook.
So is this a big deal?
GM needs to be on Facebook
The decision to go back to advertising on Facebook is unlikely to be a big deal for GM, financially speaking. GM is one of the world’s largest buyers of advertising, with an annual budget that runs well over $4 billion. The $10 million that GM was spending annually with Facebook before Ewanick dumped the social-media firm was a relative drop in GM‘s global advertising bucket.
GM‘s return is clearly a big deal for Facebook, which wants badly to be taken seriously by consumer marketing heavyweights like GM. Facebook says that had been trying to win back GM as an advertiser ever since the breakup. But is it a big deal for GM in terms of marketing impact?
It’s not on the scale of a great Super Bowl ad, but it might