Mad Men: Just what kind of ad will revamp GM's tarnished image?

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Susan Docherty, vice-president of Buick and GMC, is working seven days a week trying to revive General Motor's ailing brands, she tells BusinessWeek, and she has a message for her subordinates: "I tell my staff: 'If you're not comfortable with the pace, get with it or get out.' "

CEO Fritz Henderson said that the message behind the company's new ad campaigns -- which are tilted heavily toward the internet (check out GMReinvention.com -- is that "the GM that let too many of you down is history.")

The New York Times reported on a new GM commercial that deals with the bankruptcy head-on, beginning with the line "Let's be honest. No company wants to go through this. But we're not witnessing the end of the American car. We're witnessing the rebirth of the American car."

Of course that ad has already sparked a parody (see below), and I have to ask: Given all the negative publicity surrounding GM, will any amount of advertising be enough to combat it? It would almost be better for GM to try to clear out its inventory with aggressive price cuts and then shut up, design new cars, and come out with a slick new ad campaign. Is telling us that there was a time when GM's cost structure was competitive but now it isn't really going to convince anyone to buy a car? It seems so obvious -- and that GM feels like it needs to announce something everyone else figured out a long time ago almost makes the company seem even more out of touch.

If you're really have a lot of time on your hands, you can follow GM's turnaround on Twitter.

But I'll put the question out there to WalletPOP readers, because it's possible that I'm just a cynic: Are these GM TV ads and Twitter ads having any impact?

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