Mike Jackson says he never wants to read another 30-day sales report or listen to an ad agency pitch for a car account.
Jackson, 51, quit in May as General Motors' vice president of North American marketing and advertising. He had held the job for barely 14 months.
After spending seven years with GM, Jackson says he has no plans to return to the auto industry. He says he wants to join a growing field where he can make a difference. But he still has plenty of ideas about how his former industry can reach consumers better.
"One of the things the industry has not done, compared to other major consumer goods marketers, is focus on driving the most effective use of media dollars and trying a lot of new things," Jackson told Automotive News.
Instead of strengthening their brands for the long haul, Jackson says, the Detroit 3 are more interested in creating "great 30-second spots" for individual vehicles. And even when GM has offered high-quality cars and trucks and advertised them well, he says, the automaker still must battle negative consumer perceptions from 20 years ago.
"I felt like we could do great work in marketing," Jackson says. "But clearly there were some other things going on that impacted the overall business results. The category is very difficult to rebuild a brand in."
Jackson came to GM from Coors Brewing Co., where he was vice president of market development. He says he brought a different perspective to his job than his predecessors who were career auto executives.
Jackson says he gave "150 percent" to his marketing job and often worked 100 hours a week — traveling extensively, making speeches, and meeting with ad agency and media executives.
At the same time, he says, "I felt like I had to build relationships internally. So I spent a lot of time meeting with employees and speaking to other functional groups like the design group, engineering and manufacturing."
But all the hours and meetings weren't "moving the needle" on higher sales, Jackson says. So he says he told GM CEO Rick Wagoner: "My heart is not in this anymore."
Jackson advises GM to "stay the course" with Cadillac, despite formidable competition from other luxury brands.
"We really need to invest in rebuilding the brands," Jackson says. "Great brands win. Weak brands die."
And Mike Jackson still refers to GM as "we."