- The Washington Times - Monday, August 25, 2008

GM cuts Oscars

General Motors says it has dropped the curtain on advertising during the Academy Awards ceremony and also confirms it will pull out of the Sept. 21 Emmy Awards as part of the company’s efforts to slash its ad spending and marketing costs.

The decision to pull out of the Oscars, which will air in February on ABC and is considered one of TV’s most prominent and best-watched events, is “not just about cost-cutting [but also] about best return on investment and spending on properties that work best for our objectives,” GM representative Kelly Cusinato told Brandweek.

“The Emmys [also on ABC] and Oscars are prestigious events, and the decision to release them was a difficult one, especially after over a decade of involvement,” Mr. Cusinato said.

According to the marketing firm TNS Global, General Motors spent $13.5 million on media for the 2008 Oscars on ABC and a total of more than $110 million over the past 11 years. In July, General Motors said it would cut and consolidate its marketing and sales budget and reconsider its investments in motor-sports activity, including its sizable Nascar sponsorship. Instead, the focus would be on product launches and brand advertising.

Mr. Cusinato said GM will continue to spend on TV and will remain involved with the Golden Globes, the Grammys and the Country Music Awards in 2009. However, “these actions are related to our overall effort to reduce and focus ad/promo spending, look critically at all our promotional efforts and continue with those that offer the best return on investment,” he said.

GM sales are down 17.7 percent through July, says Autodata, and the brand is seeking to boost liquidity by $15 billion by 2009 through a mix of spending cutbacks and job cuts. Its second-quarter losses reached $15.5 billion, the third-worst dip in its illustrious 100-year history.

In 2006, GM spent $2.3 billion on ads but cut back to slightly more than $2 billion in 2007, Nielsen Monitor-Plus reports.

ABC gets ‘Maid’

ABC is bringing the Jennifer Lopez starrer “Maid in Manhattan” to the small screen, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The network is in negotiations for a series adaptation of the 2002 romantic comedy, to be penned by Chad Hodge and executive produced by Miss Lopez, Joe Roth and the film’s producer, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

The hourlong dramedy, which is getting a pilot commitment, is not a remake of the hit feature, which centered on Marisa Ventura (Miss Lopez), a struggling single mother from the Bronx who works as a maid at a swanky Manhattan hotel where a rising politician guest (Ralph Fiennes) falls for her after mistaking her for a wealthy socialite.

“The show is a different maid in a different Manhattan,” Mr. Hodge said.

The lead in the TV version will still be a young Latina from the Bronx working at a Manhattan hotel who tries to make it in the world. Yet the series will focus mostly on her relationships with co-workers.

On tap tonight…

Secret Access: Air Force One (8 p.m., History Channel). This documentary offers a fascinating look inside the president’s plane while also sharing tidbits of history. We learn, for instance, that Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to fly in a plane, but his distant cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to fly in a plane while in office. It also was FDR who in 1944 directed that a Presidential Pilot Office be established to provide air transportation for the commander in chief.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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