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August 26, 2005

GM is in Deep Denial

General Motors (GM) began its latest discount addicted ways in June with the announcement of its Employee Discounts for Every One (EDEO) pricing scheme. At the time, GM sincerely promised the discount would be short-lived and end on August 1. But GM broke its promise and extended the EDEO pricing scheme to September 6.

And now … GM is breaking its promise again. The automaker now tells us their EDEO pricing scheme will end on September 30.

The Brand Autopsy Discount Detox Center has seen this unfortunate marketing behavior before and believes General Motors is in DEEP DENIAL.

General Motors is addicted to discounting.

Addiction to any marketing activity is defined as being the continued use of marketing tactics despite repeated negative consequences. The Circle of Discount Addiction [see below] demonstrates the stages every marketer experiences when abusing low price marketing schemes.


When discount addicted marketers begin compulsively using low price marketing schemes they experience denial.

The meaning of denial is simple. The discount addicted marketer denies he or she is addicted to the marketing tactic in question. These marketers fail to grasp the dangers of working in a business environment where after the “HIGH” of a high volume/low-return sales cycle comes the “LOW” of a low-volume/low-return sales cycle.

Everybody around the discount addicted marketer knows what the problem is. Everyone that is, except the marketer.

If an addicted marketer does finally attempt to stop using the drug of discounting, he is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.

In the case of low price marketing schemes, withdrawal without proper marketing supervision can be debilitating for the business, and in some cases, fatal to the brand. When a marketer tries to stop abusing discounting cold turkey, the fiscal withdrawal symptoms can be so painful and potentially devastating to their career that the marketer quickly returns to activating another round of deep discount marketing tactics.

Discount addicted marketers soon reach the point of maintaining their discounting habit. At this point, the marketer needs to constantly include a discount tactic in his marketing plans to feel “normal.” And at any given time during the fiscal year, the marketer has some level of discounting active in the marketplace. The marketer literally cannot function without it.

It’s very hard for the discount addicted marketer to maintain any semblance of a normal business life when he’s reached this point. Problems at staff meetings and at off-site business retreats start to intensify and clashes with the legal department over marketing verbiage in advertising collateral become more common.

Faced with these devastating situations, the discount addicted marketer makes a promise to stop using low price marketing schemes. The promise by the marketer may be sincere and perhaps the marketer has come to accept he has a problem and has a desire to stop. Unfortunately, the marketer goes into fiscal withdrawal soon after the last discount tactic expires and unable to withstand the pain, the marketer starts to use again.

Following the broken promises, the discount addicted marketer once again retreats deep into denial. He will use low price marketing schemes less, he says, but he doesn’t have to stop because he doesn’t really have a problem. The circle of discount addiction continues.

Obviously a circle has no beginning and no end. With effective treatment; however, the circle of discount addiction can be opened at any point and remade into an upward curve of recovery. The process is simple but the work is hard.

adapted from the Circle of Active Addiction


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My little-known corporate-drug company, Smerck, is developing a new anti-discount-denial pill, to be called C-Out. C-Out gets to the root of the problem, attacking the dreaded sell-at-a-loss-to-keep-share CEO enzyme, which is of course cancerous to the rest of the corporate body in countless ways, especially when culture samples show high levels of receptiveness and tolerance to the disease. For severe cases like GM, we will also have the B-Schlax pill, which will attack cancerous Boardmember enzymes who working in silent tandem with the CEO enzyme to eat away remaining shareholder value and brandrelevance obviously deadly combination. For last-resort action, we have an experimental agent called Wall-gon, which removes short-sighted wall street organs seeking only unit sales proliferation, one of the roots of the disease. At present however, the total risks of Wall-gon are uncertain and not likely to be well recieved.

C-Out and B-Schlax both will have serious temporary side effects: The entire corporate body will experience hot burning rectal sensations, constant vomiting, double vision, warring cells, bulging veins and extremely high blood pressure, violent cramping and pain in all organs. Some lesser non-critical organs may even die and be expelled, and loss of some limbs and digits is even possible. Following this however, the body will return to a far greater state of health and strength, in a more compact skeletal structure that operates with less fat, 20/20 vision, and overall greater life expectancy. It will in fact be a 30% smaller body, free of the disease, but alas, such is the severity of the disease when untreated for so long. There are no painless treatments for such a vicious killer.

We have already paid off the FDA bureaucrats, so approval is expected to go swiftly. We may even try to encourage them to try the drugs themselves.

Funny stuff Thomas. Good riffing!

Can’t wait to see the commercials on CNBC promoting C-Out, B-Schlax, and Wall-gon. “TRIMSPA baby!"

Hey thanks, John. Love this detox thing, fun stuff.

BTW, unfortunately, Smerck will not be doing commercials or other mass marketing. We have a very carefully targeted, comprehensively serviced client/patient list; we show up when they have few other alternatives left. Bigger margins that way, on these potent little pills, (and the CFO can usually include the high cost in the one-time restructuring charge-off). We even supply the waterglass, and administer the pills personally.

We will need to fly to Detroit EDEO is being extended to 2006 chevy trucks...

The GM is in Deep Denial GM's version of The Wizard of Oz' 'pay no attention to that man behind the curtain' routine is good for a few laughs. It's always fun to watch the rich and powerful act like victims. Nevertheless, it's a worrying situation.At the same time, GM's vindictiveness will hurt GM's bottom line. The move against The Times catapulted Neil's column out of pistonhead backwaters into the national consciousness.



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