Why GM is like Joe Louis

The company’s new commercial harkens back to a great American comeback story

Canadian ad guru Terry O’Reilly has become obsessed with a single flickering image in that new TV spot for GM, which fuses a stream of images meant to suggest a company in chrysalis rather than one sluffing into the Detroit
River. It is the brief shot of the boxer Joe Louis, whose personal narrative GM clearly wishes to replicate. Louis, for non-boxing fans, famously lost in 1936 to Germany’s Max Schmeling at a time when America was under economic siege and the country’s self-esteem was at an all-time low. But he came back in spectacular fashion, restoring national pride, and faith in the American dream. Is GM capable of a similar restoration? Hard to know. But if, as financial analysts say, half the battle is making Americans believe in GM again, they’ve clearly found the right ad team.

Montreal Gazette

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