Controversial ad concerns Ontario trucking industry

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TORONTO, Ont. – General Motors has yanked an ad campaign depicting a jackknifed tractor-trailer following a complaint by the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).

The campaign, promoting the car maker’s Goodwrench service and entitled The Moment Proper Maintenance Matters, showed a jackknifed tractor-trailer on snowy road conditions.

OTA president David Bradley said the ad instilled a fear in consumers of sharing the road with tractor-trailers. In a letter to General Motors he expressed the industry’s disappointment with the ad and pointed out that it’s an insensitive mischaracterization of large trucks and an unwarranted used of fear to promote the Goodwrench service. He asked GM to withdraw the advertisement.

General Motors responded with a letter stating it will pull the ad and instead run the campaign with posters of a generic snowy road – omitting the tractor-trailer.

Michelle Moxley, national advertising manager for GM Goodwrench services, says the advertisement’s goal was to emphasize the importance of proper vehicle maintenance during winter conditions and to associate GM vehicle technology expertise with GM Goodwrench Service. It was never GM’s intent to offend or convey a negative image of the trucking industry, she says.

The safety performance and public perception of the industry are ongoing issues regularly discussed at OTA meetings, says Bradley, and the association is watchful of misperceptions of the industry.

“We are delighted with the responsiveness of GM and we’re glad they recognized the trucking industry’s concerns,” says Rebecka Torn, communications manager for the OTA. “We’re very pleased that they’ve changed the ad, I’ve noticed the ad in the newspapers and it’s fine running e way it is, it is a generic snow covered road – works for us.”

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