The draft bailout for the U.S. automobile industry calls for the appointment of a "Car Czar" who, if the bill passes and is signed into law, would instantly become the most powerful marketing and advertising executive on Earth. The Czar would be charged with overseeing auto company expenses over $25 million, which means he or she would control the companies' media buys. An estimate from Advertising Age places the auto industry's marketing spending at about $7.3 billion in the U.S. alone -- $2 billion more than the next largest advertiser, Procter and Gamble, which spends some $5.2 billion per year. This will effectively make the Car Czar the single most influential marketing executive on Earth. The only catch? Ad agencies that work for automakers under the bailout will be effectively working on a government account, with all the bureaucracy and restrictions that entails. Depending on when the bill is signed, the Car Czar could be appointed by George W. Bush, but could be replaced by Barack Obama after his inauguration.
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