DETROIT -- For a glimpse of Chevrolet's future advertising direction, flip on the TV pretty much any time during the 17-day Winter Olympics starting Friday, when Chevy will dominate coverage with 11 new commercials broadcast more than 400 times.
Chevy's Olympic ad blitz has the feel of a new marketing campaign, even though it's not -- its Find New Roads theme debuted one year ago. But it's clear that the wave of commercials bears the imprint of new marketing chief Tim Mahoney, who arrived at Chevy in April from Volkswagen of America.
Mahoney inherited Find New Roads and says he embraces it, insisting that Chevy's marketing badly needs consistency after years of false starts. But after spending several months last year sizing up his new brand, he concluded that Chevy's recent messaging needed to strike a more emotional chord.
And Mahoney is frank about a problem that dealers and critics have been citing for years: Chevy's new vehicles can compete against the best, but they are hamstrung by a weak brand image.
"One of the things that still holds us back a little bit is the brand ... the perceptions of what Chevrolet is," Mahoney told reporters last week during a group interview at GM's headquarters here.