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October 10, 2015

Is Howie Long helping or hurting Chevy with those ads?

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 20th 2009 3:16PM
howie_long_foxChevy must have focus groups and research that tells them that Howie Long is a good spokesperson for their products. As a Fox NFL anaylst, he's fine alongside the likes of Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw. That said, I can't stand Howie Long in his commercials.

Long is smug and arrogant in all of 60 seconds. He's supposed to be selling the advantages of Chevy products -- while dissing those of Honda in direct jabs at the Japanese company -- but he rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it's his smile. He just acts like he has no humility. He's all confidence and self-assuredness. Those two qualities should make him an excellent pitchman. That's what Chevy is trying to project.

So why doesn't it work? I can't say for certain. In the Fox studios and in interviews and other appearances he's done, I have liked Howie. He's a pro football Hall of Famer. I even recall his playing days on the Oakland Raiders, when they were a good team and regularly were in the playoffs and occasionally the Super Bowl. Therefore, I don't despise the guy every time I see him. It's just those Chevy ads.

Even the one with the bratty little girl makes him come off badly. Take a look:

You would think since she's so horrid, he would shine by comparison. Instead, I reach for the remote and turn them both off.

On the plus side, maybe Chevy will be happy that I remember the spots, that I identify Long with the Malibu and the Chevy trucks. Perhaps the execs will think it's super that I recognized that he was making fun of Honda by bringing up their lawn mowers.

However, the fact that I want to run over Howie's shoe with the lawn mower might be a negative.

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Howie is great. Allison is the problem.
How can anyone not fall for that super smile!!

February 06 2011 at 9:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Crewdson

The first (and only) rule of advertising is: remember the sponsor's product when you get to the store. The Mad Men don't care how or why you do this; that's why are so many horrendous ads on TV ("apply directly to the forehead"). All Chevy cares about is that, when you think about buying a Honda, you'll remember Howie and Chevy. That said, I happen to think Long is a natural pitchman. His Radio Shack ads with Terri Hatcher were classics and won a host of awards. He's huge, but they've dressed him to look more or less normal. He's handsome, and he has a nice, low-key, slightly bemused, delivery that I like. For sure, Chevy did focus groups up the waz before they decided to sign Long to what must be an enormous contract (the residuals alone must be in the millions, since those ads are on TV somewhere approximately every 30 seconds). So I'm not the only one who feels as I do. If any of the focus groupers had walked out of the room gritting their teeth, Chevy would have selected someone else. What this will do for Chevy's sales, however, remains to be seen. All the seductive ads in the world won't help them build better cars, and at the moment GM doesn't have a single "best buy" in Consumer Reports. It may be that the only one who walks away whole is Howie Long.

January 12 2010 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Happy 50th. Birthday Howie!

January 11 2010 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Howie Long is, always was, smug and arrogant, as a Raider, and probably throughout his HS and College football days. He was good, he knew it, he worked hard to get where he is, he knew very little humility, needs not apologize to anyone. I traveled with the Raider's on the Raider Team plane to several away games...occasionally, for a few years. My opinion, Howie was one of a select group of Raiders that were the quintessence of what pro football "macho" is meant to be. In control and nonsensical "macho" as a pro player should be.

America loves smug and arrogant, General Motors knows this too...they have the right guy with Howie. Howie is one of a very intelligent group of the NFL Hall Of Fame. Bye the way, Howie drove a Full Size, Ford Bronco at the time. Zoom Zoom

January 11 2010 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Don D.

Hey Howie,

How much tax payer bail out money did you get for making those annoying commercials? Shame on you. You every tax paying American an apology.

January 06 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff C

The ads are annoying on at least two levels. One is Howie; hard to forget him putting the helpless dweeb down for his not so manly truck. And, tax payers picking up the bill for years of GM arrogance and just plain stupidity. Maybe if GM did not have Fed money they'd come up with something other than TV ads and discounts to sell cars.

January 04 2010 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like Howie in those adds. He's a good guy, leave him alone.

January 03 2010 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with Doc. I think Howie Long is the perfect spokesperson for GM.
He exudes confidence, not arrogance, in the product. He is exactly what the company needs as it struggles to regain the confidence of the marketplace.

December 28 2009 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think He IS great...especially LOVE the "Cop hair" one! Good for a Great chuckle!! :)

December 27 2009 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i have always disliked howie long. as a commentator, his desire to steal the spotlight
from the others is apparent and annoying. in the recent chevrolet commercials(all of
which i tune out when they appear), he comes across as smug.
my question for howie long: '' howie ... if you had to do it all over again, would
you fall in love with yourself?''

December 19 2009 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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