GM partners with MTV to win over young consumers
In an attempt to make their brand seem more “hip” amongst younger drivers, General Motors has just partnered with MTV Scratch, a subdivision of the popular teen-oriented station. The partnership is the result of GM’s desire to answer a recent problem amongst all automakers: Why don’t youngsters care about cars anymore?
Although owning a car was once a hallmark of teen and young adult culture, it has lately taken a back seat to social media. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have enabled younger age brackets to connect with one another in ways that past generations could have never imagined. While the automobile was once viewed as a sign of independence and freedom, many young people actually now perceive cars as a hindrance.
“They think of a car as a giant bummer,” said Ross Martin, executive vice president of MTV Scratch to the New York Times. “Think about your dashboard. It’s filled with nothing but bad news.”
According to the New York Times, recent statistics give credence to Martin’s arguments. In fact, the percentage of eligible drivers 19 and up with a drivers’ license dropped nearly 20 percent from 1998 to 2008. Furthermore, the Federal Highway Administration indicates that drivers age 21 to 30 traveled 12 percent fewer miles in 2009 than in 1995. Perhaps most alarming for GM is the fact that nearly half of all drivers aged 18 to 24 would choose Internet access to owning a car, according to a Gartner study.
So how does GM plan to reverse this troubling trend? Well, Scratch has engineered a five-year plan designed to reorganize the Michigan-based automaker’s corporate culture. Though many auto enthusiasts may cringe, GM's new strategic strategy is to employ the same approach that made “Jersey Shore” a hit. In his first attempt to give GM a more modern vibe, Martin has renamed the company’s headquarters the “Death Star,” after Darth Vader’s space station in Star Wars. In addition to renaming the facility, Martin and the Scratch team also transformed GM’s lobby to look more like Seattle coffee shop with the use of skateboards, throw pillows and graffiti.