GM's Sponsorship of Transformers Movie — PinoyExchange

GM's Sponsorship of Transformers Movie

General Motors, in a effort to revive market excitement over the its autos, decided to spend millions in sponsoring the hit movie Transformers. Naturally, its local office here will grab opportunity to showcase it. Below is article from Manila Times that tell story of what happened during the premiere. Tsk tsk tsk no wonder they're not selling.:grrr: *peace* :angry:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

By Vernon B. Sarne
Optimus Prime would
have been furious

LET me tell you a story as sad as Jazz’s demise in the hands of Megatron.

On June 27, my colleague and fellow motoring journalist Ron de los Reyes attended the press screening of Transformers at the Gateway Mall in Araneta Center, Quezon City, upon the invitation of General Motors Automobiles Phils. Ron is the producer and host of a 13-year-old motoring TV show, Auto Review. He also writes for the motoring section of Manila Bulletin and pens a column for Cruising Magazine. GMPh, meanwhile, is the subsidiary of the former No. 1 carmaker in the world, which provided the cars that transformed into alien robots in the movie (Chevrolet Camaro for Bumblebee; Pontiac Solstice for Jazz; GMC TopKick Crew Cab for Ironhide; and Hummer H2 for Ratchet).

Ron attended the event both to spend time with his two sons and also to produce a news item on his TV program. He brought with him a palm-sized JVC video camera with a 60-minute tape—the latter having just about 10 minutes of available footage capacity since it had already been used during Ron’s recent trip with Chinese carmaker Chery. So he filmed portions of the proceedings during cocktails as well as the requisite speeches, with whatever was left of the tape.

Now Ron being 53 (yes, I have permission to reveal his age), he had no idea what the movie was all about. He was absolutely clueless as to who Bumblebee and Optimus Prime were. Which is totally believable. I mean, I’d be really alarmed if he were following the exploits of the Autobots in the Eighties.

Normally, he would have consulted some literature but he wasn’t provided a press kit. So he went inside the theater not really knowing what to expect and how to write his news item for the event such that it wouldn’t look out of place in a motoring show. About 15 minutes into the film, he found the perfect clip to accompany his news coverage—the one in which Sam Witwicky was about to be bought his first car by his father. So Ron switched his camera on and focused it on the silver screen. It was—as Ron would later acknowledge—“poor judgment” on his part. He totally forgot that filming any portion of a movie was strictly prohibited, even if all he really wanted was a short clip to go with his story.

True enough, a security guard soon accosted him and asked him to get up his seat and go with the guard to the mall’s security office. Boy, was it just the beginning of a long, traumatic night for Ron.

In the security office, Ron was berated by one Selina Gecolea de Venecia, who apparently is the general manager of the Philippine office of United International Pictures. UIP is jointly owned by Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, and is the global distributor of the film. Despite Ron’s attempts to calm her down and air his side, she kept screaming at him and even called him a “thief” and a “film pirate.” And when she learned that Ron was a guest of GMPh, she demanded that GMPh’s advertising and promo manager join them at the security office. When the GMPh officer arrived, this certain Selina harshly chastised her as well.

Ron was then brought to a police station and his video camera was confiscated. There, this certain Selina threatened to have him detained. It was at this point that Ron’s blood pressure really shot up. He asked a police officer if he could be brought to a clinic. Sure enough, his blood pressure had gone up to 180. Ron reckons that if he hadn’t been physically fit when the incident happened, he would have suffered a stroke right there and then. When he was eventually released late in the evening, he had to check himself into St. Luke’s Medical Center and stay there until four in the morning. All this just so this certain Selina could protect the monetary interests of an American film company.

Now don’t get me wrong. I honestly think what Ron did in the first place was wrong. He himself admits as much. To pull him out of the theater and subject him to some interrogation would have been perfectly understandable. I can even understand the confiscation of equipment.

What I don’t get is this certain Selina’s need to humiliate and utterly degrade Ron—to the point that he almost succumbed to a heart attack. If she actually took the time to listen to him and then view the contents of the tape—something that could be done on the spot since the video camera, I believe, had a built-in monitor—she would have spared everyone this unnecessary trouble. But no, she actually believed she had caught a “film pirate,” someone who’d sell the footage to fake DVD manufacturers in Quiapo. Although I seriously doubt you could find a buyer for a one-hour tape that largely contained footage from an event in China and about a couple of minutes’ worth of Sam Witwicky’s car-shopping.

Sorry, but I find this incident too weird. You want to crack down on film piracy, arrest all those vendors that are as rampant as Piolo Pascual’s billboards. You don’t curb film piracy by pulling out a respected media practitioner from a press screening and then beating your chest believing you’ve seized a “film pirate.” Mga sir at ma’am, feel free to contact me anytime—I will accompany you to countless DVD vendors in Metro Manila who hawk pirated films in broad daylight. Then again, you probably already know all their locations and buy their stuff yourselves. It’s like having the narcotics division of the NBI stage an entrapment operation in a pharmaceutical convention when drug pushers are selling shabu on sidewalks everywhere.

Again, I think Ron made a mistake there. No question about that. But did he really deserve all this?

Now what about GMPh? I learned that they didn’t even accompany Ron at the police station nor check on him the following day. Wow. You could take educational lessons from them on good public relations. This is an exemplary way of treating your guest—especially one who got in trouble because he attended your event and thought of giving it some publicity (which is why companies invite journalists all the time, right?).

If I were in their shoes, this is exactly what I would have told this certain Selina: “Listen, ma’am, I understand your dedication to the antipiracy measures of your American company. But we’re General Motors and we own the vehicles that you see in the movie you so passionately protect. No GM vehicles, no Transformers. Let’s see Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg come up with a blockbuster movie with a SsangYong Rodius Bumblebee. Ron is our guest and we vouch for his integrity. You are not touching him and you are certainly not bringing him anywhere. Do that and we will have the Decepticons descend upon this place.”

I can’t imagine this happening if Nicky Mariano were still GMPh’s sales and marketing director. Heck, I can’t imagine this happening at a Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, Isuzu, Nissan, Subaru, BMW or Mercedes-Benz event. Think about this for a moment and it isn’t difficult to understand why General Motors has relinquished the global top spot to Toyota. It has simply lost its pride and swagger.

And that is precisely why it needs a Hollywood film to make it look good all over again.


  • KnightofLetran
    KnightofLetran +Knight's Cross+
    Now I know the reason why they changed bumblebee ( original is a vw beetle) to a camaro. transformers was my one of my favorite cartoons when i was growing up, and the yellow vw beetle is already an icon. I was aghast when they change it to a camaro!
  • Wow.. i came here expecting something else. but this is good read.

    IF THIS GOES OUT TO THE MASS MEDIA. mangyayari nanaman ang nangyari dun sa nang away ng writer na car importer.. MAKAKALIMUTAN NA.

    See i even forgot the name ng cars na pinag awayan nila na!


    But yah... GM has to make an apology. and give the writer a SUbaru STi just to say sorry.
  • Yeah, GM is indeed a major sponsor of the movie as evidenced by Ironhide, Jazz, Bumblebee (old and new), Ratchet and even Mikaela's boyfriend's pimped-out H2.

    The only exceptions would be Prime, who is a Peterbilt truck; and Barricade who is a Saleen Mustang Police Car. The orginal plan was for Prime to be an International Harvester truck as the whole TF community recognizes him to be. However, in robot for, we would be was smaller than Megatron. This is why they opted for the biggest semi they could find. :) Now for, the Mustang, the makers decided that a retro Mustang would be the perfect opponent for the retro Camaro.

    Just imagnine if Bumblebee were to still have been a Beetle. It would be sorely out of place. Not even changing into the New Beetle would make it work. :lol:
  • ALvs
    ALvs Just Another Game
    Now I know the reason why they changed bumblebee ( original is a vw beetle) to a camaro. transformers was my one of my favorite cartoons when i was growing up, and the yellow vw beetle is already an icon. I was aghast when they change it to a camaro!

    I would have wanted to see Bumblebee as a beetle as well, but look at it from this POV, if I were in charge of Marketing GM's fleet of cars, I would do everything I can to have my vehicles in the movie too. Heck, gusto ko na nga bumili ng Camaro eh.

    I think in effect, changing the cars was done to keep up with the times din siguro. After the movie, I'm sure a lot of people were asking, where's Soundwave etc. Don't you think it would have been silly to have a casette recorder in an mp3 player/ipod generation?
  • slamm
    slamm runnin on empty
    And GM Phils isnt doing that too great in the local market either...
  • "
    Just imagnine if Bumblebee were to still have been a Beetle. It would be sorely out of place. Not even changing into the New Beetle would make it work. "

    wrong. the reason why they also opted to change the beetle to a camaro is because yung early scenes ng movie where bumblebee was acting weird. (playing radio, opening doors, etc etc) It would of been like a HERBIE movie more than anything.
  • and volkswagen would not allow them to use the beetle as a symbol of war
  • by butch gamboa rin kanina

    YEA.. GM is in big trouble for not helping that writer out. LAWLZIES
  • OTEP R
    OTEP R Admin
    Now I know the reason why they changed bumblebee ( original is a vw beetle) to a camaro. transformers was my one of my favorite cartoons when i was growing up, and the yellow vw beetle is already an icon. I was aghast when they change it to a camaro!

    Volkswagen and Porsche did not want to involve their products in the movie due to the perceived violent content. The producers had to settle for GM.

    Besides, having it licensed from one manufacturer is easier [and way cheaper].

    As for Ron de los Reyes, he did something wrong and should face the consequences of his action. Obviosly his fellow 'journalists' are out there to defend him. No one even bothered to get GM's side on the incident.

    Don't count on any press coverage or good reviews of GM products for a while...
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