OMG, They’re Serious: ‘GM Says Thank You to American Public,’ Using Popeye, Animal House, Evil Knievel References

Posted on Sat 11/27/2010 by


By Tom Blumer

When I first saw this video at a non-Government/General Motors site, I said, “Wow, that’s quite a spoof. Who did that?”

It’s not a spoof. It’s for real. It’s posted in the media section at GM’s web site.

Even diehard defenders of the GM and Chrysler bailouts have to wonder what in the world the folks who put together the 60-second ad were thinking.

Here’s the hype for the ad found at GM’s site (bold is mine):

As the nation celebrates Thanksgiving on Thursday, General Motors is saying thanks to the American people. In a 60-second commercial with no voiceover, serious and comic images of failure appear on screen back to back followed by images of recovery, or comeback, as the advertisement is titled. The ad closes with the words: “We all fall down. Thank you for helping us get back up.”

GM shares returned to the New York Stock Exchange last week in an initial public offering that reduced the U.S. Treasury’s ownership stake from more than 60 percent to about 33 percent, just 16 months after emerging from bankruptcy reorganization.

Here are the ad’s examples of falling down and getting back up:

  • A knockdown scene from a boxing movie (the get-up ends the ad).
  • A space launch that fails.
  • Truman defeating in 1948.
  • A Popeye clip.
  • Animal House, with John Belushi shouting “I’m not gonna take this!”
  • Evil Knievel.

The “falls” are in the order just listed. The get-ups are in reverse order. Knievel? Popeye? Animal House? Are you kidding me?

Do you ever get the feeling that some of the people involved are getting their jollies by mocking the fools at GM who actually paid them for this?

As to substance:

  • Nobody asked the American people first. Oh, wait a minute. They sort of did; at least they tried to go through channels. After House passage, the Senate voted down the initial attempt to “lend” money to GM and Chrysler in December 2008. Despite that legislative failure, President Bush just went ahead and started the ball rolling anyway by ill-advisedly and more than likely illegally allowing TARP funds to be used for the initial “bridge loans.”
  • Nobody asked the American people before President Obama and his car czar crew did their boardroom coup and ousted GM’s Rick Wagoner in March 2009. He, and they, just did it, without even bothering to ask Congress (which wouldn’t have been enough anyway, given that they never approved the initial “loans”).
  • Nobody asked the American people if they were okay with the idea of ripping off certain creditors of equal or superior standing in favor of others during bankruptcy and ensuring the the United Auto Workers remained whole. The government’s “negotiators” just went ahead and did it.
  • Nobody asked the American people if they were okay with the idea of pumping tens of billions of dollars of cash into GM and giving it additional tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks so it could emerge from bankruptcy. The government just did it, giving GM a huge unfair competitive advantage.
  • Finally, nobody asked the American people if they were down with the idea of foreign entities and owners taking a stake in “their” company.

There’s nothing wrong with GM being thankful that it’s alive.

But to pretend that “the American public” had anything to do with the company’s survival is a complete insult to our intelligence. This was a government-engineered rescue totally absent of popular input.

If a conservative cause used cartoon and movie references to draw direct parallels to what it was doing or trying to do, the ridicule from the establishment press would be deafening. Searches on “General Motors thanks” (not in quotes) at the Associated Press and the New York Times instead come up with nothing related to the claptrap I have just covered.

Cross-posted at

Tom Blumer is president of a training and development company in Mason, Ohio, and is a contributing editor to NewsBusters

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