Like a good journalist, we wanted to know more. So we asked for an interview with Maria Rohrer, Director of Global Volt Marketing Operations at Chevrolet, to understand the thinking behind the controversial song and dance. Regrettably, there was no room in her schedule.
Written for kids 7-12
But we had a long chat with a weary-sounding David Darovitz, Volt launch manager for GM Communications, who gave us the sequence of events. As part of its pre-LA Auto Show publicity, Volt marketers had done an elaborate presentation on electric cars and the Volt to 1,000 students at Harvard Westlake School, along with a webcast to 120 schools.
The Volt song was meant to be played during that event, as background music for Ms. Rohrer's presentation, among other uses. But it wasn't ready. In fact, it didn't get cleared until just before public access days at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Electric Car video, by They Might Be Giants
The Volt marketers decided to pair a dance routine with the song, which was written for kids 7 to 12, as a way to add some razzle-dazzle, get peoples' attention, and lure showgoers over to the Volt area. According to Darovitz, the Chevrolet Volt message reached more than 28,000 showgoers. So there you have it.
It could have been different
What makes it worse is that we've been told, by two sources--one inside, one outside General Motors--that it almost didn't go this way. Instead, former marketing chief Bob Lutz wanted to license the song "Electric Car," by whimsical rock group They Might Be Giants.
Lutz passed the song along to Chevrolet Marketing, the folks who are now responsible for promoting the 2011 Volt to target buyers and the public at large. What happened?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
He wasn't overruled; we heard he was simply ignored. Chevrolet Marketing seemingly felt it could do better. Just like at the old GM, the one that went bankrupt, where everything generated inside the company was by definition better than anything from outside.
We're told, in fact, that Rohrer, was openly proud of the song and dance routine. We'd still like to talk to her, to get her side of a story that by now may have spiraled far out of control.
For the record, Darovitz of GM Communications said he had no knowledge of the alternate song.
But we'll let you be the judge. We've put the two videos below; They Might Be Giants comes first, then the Volt dance. You tell us which one makes you feel happier, more optimistic, and better disposed toward the Chevrolet Volt. Please comment, below.
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