The men leading the comebacks will speak at the Automotive News World Congress on the panel "Buying Smart: Using Media Dollars Efficiently in a Down Economy."
CJ Fraleigh, GM's executive director of corporate advertising and marketing, and Jed Connelly, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nissan, will speak on Jan. 16. Also on the panel is Randy Rothenberg, chief marketing officer of Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc., an international strategy and technology consulting firm in New York City.
GM unit sales of light vehicles dropped 3.4 percent in 1998, rose 8.9 in 1999 and dropped 1.3 percent in 2000. Fraleigh came aboard in January to help GM infuse a younger attitude to marketing communications.
He has been hailed as the whiz-kid from Pepsi-Cola Co. who turned Mountain Dew into a cool, youth-oriented soft drink and helped reinvent the Pepsi trademark with the "Joy of Cola" campaign. Fraleigh came to GM to reinvigorate Cadillac.
He has implemented a system to speed advertising approval by eliminating GM's numerous legal consultants.
Nissan's light-vehicle sales were down 14.7 percent in 1998, climbed 9.0 percent in 1999 and rose 11.1 percent in 2000.
Connelly has helped restore Nissan's image by touting the roomier Altima sedan and an Xterra sport-utility equipped with hooks and racks to store recreational gear. Connelly oversees sales and marketing for Nissan and Infiniti as well as service and parts and customer handling. He is a member of the North American Management Committee, the key decision-making body for Nissan in North America.
Rothenberg has written about the marketing industry during his 20-plus years as a journalist. He was editorial director of Esquire and senior consulting editor at Bloomberg Business News in London before becoming contributing editor of Wired. Rothenberg went on to The New York Times and from 1986 to 1991 held several positions, including advertising columnist.
He left the Times to write "Where the Suckers Moon: An Advertising Story."
In addition to being chief marketing officer at Booz-Allen, Rothenberg is an editor at large and media/marketing columnist for Advertising Age, a sister publication of Automotive News, where he opines on the marketing community, including the activities of the automakers.
The other two panelists, Jan Klug, Ford Motor Co. vice president of global marketing, and George Murphy, Chrysler group senior vice president of global brand marketing, were profiled in last week's issue.