After Eminem’s Chrysler Ad, GM Wages Keyword Battle

WSJ notes: According to GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick, Chrysler won the buzz war a week ago on Super Bowl Sunday. Chrysler’s gritty two-minute spot, featuring rapper Eminem and the tagline “Imported From Detroit,” was easily the most talked about auto commercial of the event.

But Ewanick said GM managed to counterattack.

Right after seeing the Chrysler commercial – during the third quarter of Sunday’s game – Ewanick fired off an email to his marking folks and told them to make what’s called a “keyword bid” on Google.

That means GM paid Google to make sure that anyone who typed up the phrase “Imported from Detroit” into the site would turn up a paid search ad from Chevrolet as the first link.

“I’m sitting there watching to see if anybody is going to be really good and take off. (The ad) comes on and I say, ‘Yeah, we’re getting our butts kicked, so let’s go,’ ” Mr. Ewanick said.

Ewanick said GM got more than 54 million page views after the Super Bowl, which featured a slew of spots from Chevrolet, including one with the cast of the television show Glee. He said GM’s strategy was to stick to more low-key ads in an effort to keep the focus on its vehicles.

GM also bought other search phrases, including “Darth Vader,” an attempt to capitalize on another must see spot, a Volkswagen ad with a kid dressed as Darth Vader.

“We did the right thing to ride the wave,” Ewanick said. “Someone said, ‘Gee, they did better than us.’ But we did better because of them.”

Car shopping site measured its web traffic following the Super Bowl spots to see which models were getting the biggest bump. Consideration of the Chevy Camaro and Cruze were up 69% and 63%. That’s less than VW’s 271% jump for the Beetle and 114% jump for the Passat – and way less than the Chrysler 200’s 1619% surge. But the results for Chevy cars beat out nine other auto ads, including ones from Audi, Ford and Hyundai.