DETROIT -- General Motors will spend more, not less, on National Football League TV commercials despite a recent decision to drop Super Bowl advertising, GM's top global marketing executive said last week.
Joel Ewanick said that Chevrolet remains the largest advertiser on NFL games and that he expects to increase spending on the NFL.
He also said that Chevy's becoming a sponsor of British soccer team Manchester United should not be seen as a sign that the brand is shifting its ad dollars away from the United States as it seeks to grow internationally.
"We're not going to spend less on North America. We're going to spend more" to support a slate of vehicle launches planned in 2013, Ewanick said at a press conference announcing the soccer sponsorship.
Those launches include the Chevrolet Impala sedan and redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized pickups. The pickups are expected to go on sale in the spring, followed by redesigned full-sized SUVs based on the pickups.
Ewanick acknowledged that the Super Bowl would have been a good platform to plug the pickups but said the game has become too expensive.
Ewanick called the rate increases proposed by CBS for the 2013 game "significant" but declined to elaborate. Several media outlets have reported that the network is asking for increases of as much as 25 percent, which would push the price of a 30-second ad to $4 million or more.
"We don't have unlimited resources," he said. "We have some pretty significant launches next year. We're going to need resources to launch those cars and trucks."
Commenting on his recent decision to drop the roughly $10 million a year it spends on direct advertising on Facebook, Ewanick said GM spends $30 million a year to create content that ends up on Facebook pages, and another $10 million to advertise directly on the site, say through pop-up ads.
GM is cutting that direct paid advertising but will spend that money to create more free GM content for Facebook users, which he said is more effective.
Consumers say they find Facebook ads "a little bit distracting," he said. "We have to find better ways to have those ads that pop on there very relevant."