• U.S.

AWARDS Did GM Add to Its Ads?

1 minute read

You would think that receiving an award from the Commerce Department would be honor enough for any corporation. According to the Texas attorney general’s office, you would be wrong. Last October General Motors’ Cadillac division won the government’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the right to mention the medal in its advertising — a right GM exercised. The campaign had immediate results: lawyers for Texas complained that ads citing the award violated the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Newspaper spreads boasted that “167,000 applicants” had vied for the Baldrige when in fact only 97 had applied, and that the Commerce Department had praised Cadillac’s engine, an assertion questioned by Commerce itself. GM also caught flak for several overly flattering paraphrases of a government handout accompanying the award. The 167,000 applicants are now absent from GM’s ads, but the corporation stands by everything else and is meeting with the state’s attorneys to resolve the dispute.

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