With Malibu, GM Pokes Fun at Itself


Judging from photos the 2008 Malibu is a huge break from the previous dull model. It’s much more stylish (though still fairly conservative), the proportions and fit/finish look a lot better, and the interior is worlds apart in aesthetics and materials treatments. Only first-person experience will bear these things out, as well of course how it drives. But what also is impressive is GM’s TV campaign for it.

The tag line is “The car you can’t ignore”. While this may not be true on an absolute level (compared to a Lamborghini Gallardo for example), it is definitely true compared to the last Malibu. And what I love is that GM is addressing that head on, and poking some fun at itself in the process. It’s a gutsy move.

One of the ads features a gang of robbers sitting in their getaway car outside the bank they’ve just hit. They are still wearing their masks, and stare out the windows as police cars scream to a halt outside the bank steps. The police run straight inside, by passing the robbers in the car. The gag - they are so anonymous because of the car they are in that the police ignored them.

In another spot, a jogger runs down a sidewalk and then crosses over the street. She runs smack into the side of a car parked on the other side, not having seen it because it was so boring.

The car so anonymous it’s invisible in both cases? A late 90’s GM! It’s actually an Oldsmobile Cutlass, though it also looks very similar to the outgoing Malibu in profile.

Good for you GM, not taking yourself too seriously and fessing up to the fact you’ve made some mighty bland vehicles in your time. The Malibu is a significant mainstream vehicle for GM, so let’s hope it lives up to the early hyep.

Robbery ad on Jalopnik
Jogger ad on Jalopnik
Video interview with the 2008 Malibu designers