Blog : MG plumbs new depths

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

MG6 advert (1)For anyone who thought that MG Motor UK’s marketing department has been underperforming since the launch of the ‘6, may I present to you the latest beauty in a chamber of horrors. Okay, so it’s from the MG Sales Centre, and not MG Motor UK itself, but you get the idea.

It rolled into my Facebook feed a few minutes ago, and my first thoughts were that this might have been something cooked up by Sniff Petrol – but then I realised there was no way, as our favourite orangey website is run by someone with real talent.

Whoever came up with this idiocy has none of the above.

Perhaps the intention is to create something ‘viral’ and perhaps remind people that the MG6 actually exists on the marketplace, but as the horse-loving nation that we are (and I don’t mean on the plate), I think  it’s about as well judged as New Labour declaring that 11 September 2001 was a good day to bury bad news.

Seriously, this is just rubbish – unspeakably rubbish – and whoever came up with this, should consider themselves worthy for a trip down to the local job agency. Of course, it might also be worth mentioning that the company the horse meat scandal hit the hardest was Tesco – one of the title sponsors of the KX Momentum BTCC team. So not only rubbish, but commercially suicidal, too.

So, is it a joke, a lame attempt at going viral, or simply a cry for help? I’ll go with the third option.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

118 Comments

  1. @Phil…sheer brilliance!

    Alas, it’s a bad ad that MG (cough, splutter) did. An attempt to be funny, but they just shot themselves in the hoof.

    Maybe something like;

    “MG. More like old donkey than the British beef you were used to”

  2. Can you imagine how incensced I was to see this. How effing stupid can MG be at even thinking of this childish, unprofessional and cringingly cheap looking advert.

    Not only that, but HOW DARE MG Motor UK try to tell me how insensitive and damaging my blog regarding an unsatisfied customer last year.

    As far as MG sales and marketing are concerned, they can go to bloody hell in a handcart – they simply have no clue or idea where they are going or what their long term strategy is – a criminal shame for the few good men (and women) still employed at Longbridge!

    SAIC China – for gods sake do something and fast!

  3. According to LinkedIn he’s Business & Used Sales Manager, with responsibility for –

    MG Lease – Contract Hire
    Business & Corporate Sales
    Fleet Sales
    Rental Sales
    Government Sales
    MG Approved Used Car Program
    Motability Sales Program
    Dealer Wholesale Finance
    Dealer Retail Finance

    Now when myself and a colleague applied for Regional Manager positions with MG a couple of years ago, we didn’t even get a reply! I’ve just finished a PSA contact and my colleague is heading up Delphi Diesel systems in Asia Pacific – so we must have been way under qualified! lol

    Glad we didn’t get them now – they are so unprofessional!

  4. V good Phil 🙂

    The MG advert reads like a joke in a Gumtree advert for a 400 quid Astra, or one of those ‘LIKE IF YOU AGREE’ facebook spams, with the bad grammar in capitals.
    “UNLIKE TESCO ONLY HORSE HERE IS THE MOTHER IN LAW” type of thing.

    I’m half surprised they didn’t use comic sans.

    And taking a dig at your motorsport sponsor?
    Would be like McLaren roadcars issuing an advert during a Vodafone outage saying
    ‘YOU MIGHT NOT GET PHONE COVERAGE
    IN ANY OF OUR PRODUCTS BUT
    ONE YEAR RAC COVERAGE’

    Unfortunately, as I keep saying, the germans are (too) good at marketing.
    They’d have issued an artistic picture of a horse on a beach, possibly black and white twilight, with a Sentence Case message in a nice serif font, with a message something like ‘We keep our horses under the bonnet’ and their logo.

    Unless… the whole thing is *meant* to be amateur hour, a parody of modern motoring marketing with a humourous twist to portray British sense of humour with a British (steady!) car. I am really hoping it is satire.

  5. @ mhumble:

    I do think it is time that quite a few senior members of MG Motor UK Ltd’s Sales & Marketing team are shown a P45 (I have thought this for a long time). It seems that the only decent people working for MG Motor UK Ltd are their design engineers and associates on the assembly line at Longbridge, certainly not those involved in the promotion of its cars.

    This advert is offensive to anyone who likes animals and shows the cheap, desperate lengths MG Motor UK Ltd will go to in order to try and sell its poor selling models in a highly competitive market. The ‘High fat, high caffeine’ adverts for the MG Z saloons which the ASA requested to be withdrawn eleven years ago based on one complaint, create zero offence compared to this.

  6. Are they serious? It isn’t just who came up with this ad, but who approved it for distribution, that should be sent home.

  7. This may be funny but it’s doing the MG6 no favours, or the buyers that have already their spent money on one. Depreciation must be horrendoue.

  8. Should be “my team and I” and “beforehand” – still, we can’t expect a British car manufacturer to be fully literate in English can we?

    Compare this rubbish to a recent positive PR press article about an MG6 being used by a Midlands ambulance service.

    Methinks somebody has been watching too many of the recent notorious Muller yoghurt adverts…

  9. Terrible, not just the subject but the quality of the advert itself. This is just abysmal. They could take a lot of lessons from Dacia, barely launched yet but a perfectly good website, good, clear adverts and a decent presence on TV and in the media. What on earth are MG UK playing at?

  10. What a tacky, unfunny way to promote a make of car that is struggling even to be seen in Longbridge. I suppose next up they’ll have some vulgarian like Jordan promoting their products.

  11. Usualy if a horse is badly wounded behind any resonable cure the owner shut him to prevent more sufference…….ANYONE WITH A GUN THERE

  12. Is it really worth all this fuss? most of you rejoice and bathe in unbridled rapture that this company will fail.

  13. They simply do not deserve to succeed. It is beyond pitiful, its an insult to our motoring heritage and all who beleived in it.
    Those clowns at Wongbridge have just taken a giant shit on our past and then wiped their collective arses on the curtains.
    They are dead to me.

  14. This is utterly dismal. That the once proud MG brand should be dragged into cheap, sick advertising such as this appals me. To then compound the felony by such illiterate use of language makes me think that the situation there is irredeemable. Especially sad as with the Diesel now on sale things should be looking up. I’ll be staying away from MG unless we get an apology.

  15. That is just beyond awful. Firstly it’s about 3 weeks out of date and secondly would you catch a proper car maker pulling this sort of lame stunt?

    Children could do a better job of marketing MG’s.

  16. Is this for real? surely somebody at MG must be signing this stuff off (is it April 1st yet?)- remember thw wonderfully ironic R800 add taking the mick out of the germans ‘British Architect’… how the mighty have fallen!

    Meanwhile just been sent a recall letter for my long departed MG – rear suspension could fail under load – I do feel really sorry for the TF owners who are putting this down to MG being really good at customer care!

  17. Get a grip people, its just a bit of a crap advert that tried to be funny and didnt succeed with some people.

    It wouldnt have gone further than Facebook if it wasnt for people like the ones on here that seem to want MG to do badly!!

  18. And they had the cheek to call me a CHILDISH TWAT when the marketing* department adopted facebook as it’s official marketing tool

  19. That is f***ing shocking. I could do better in five minutes with MS Paint. The Windows XP version. The muppet who bodged that together should be sacked and sent off to push trolleys in a Tesco carpark.

  20. Much as I’d liked to have seen them succeed… this seems like a nail in the coffin… plenty more to go but if they keep this up they ain’t gonna be around in a couple of years….

  21. I love how everyone on ARONLINE seem to now loathe MG, including Keith, it is very rare to find anything nice or indeed non abuse towards the company, staff or products.

    some dont need any stoking of the fire, they are just MG haters, and I along with a number of people spend less and less time here, I used to pop in numerous times a day, now it is down to once or twice a month.

    I would love to see how some of these people run a company this size, because they all seem to have an opinion on how it should be run, most of teh opinions are dire rubbish, it is becoming a total bore now to visit here and MG-Rover.org, both now seem to be nothing less than a platform to slag everything MG.

  22. Actualy we like the products, and want the company to do well. However the marketing side.. well we would love that to do well but they really have no clue

  23. I like the MG6, Jagboy. And I don’t want MG to fail. But what I do struggle with, is the way the great marque’s image is currently being dragged through the mud. You only have to see how other country’s importers are doing it better to see what’s going wrong.

    No doubt the next positive future piece I write about the future of MG, I’ll be accused of pro-MG bias.

  24. I’d also like to add that the engineering staff in the SMTC Technical Centre I’m Longbridge are truly world class. Wonder what they think of their MG counterparts?

  25. Jagboy, it’s not about hating MGUK, to paraphrase a regular Macdroitwich contributor, it’s like watching an old friend drink themselves to death.

    It’s about marketing, it’s about people paid to market who know the square root of nothing at all about marketing and have believed the lie that any publicity is good publicity – it isn’t.

    It’s about all must have prizes.
    It’s about apologists instead of ambition.

    It’s about incompetence, it’s about a lack of controls, it’s about people employed to sell cars who just don’t care.

    It’s not about hating MGUK, it’s about wanting MGUK to succeed.

  26. I have to say (in Light of Keiths comments above) I did happen to see some MG6’s in the flesh late last year at the MG showroom in Christchurch. In real life they look great:-) I think one problem with them is that for smoe reason, the photographs dont do them justice I think mainly there isnt enough contrast in the body lines maybe especially on the bonnet (hood). I think there are some other things I would change if i could style wise (the tail lights and the side skirts)but on the whole If I had NZ$30K to spend on a car the MG6 would be on my shopping list in Station Wagon form….so I would then have to buy either a used Holden Sport Wagon or a Subaru Legacy wagon… alex

  27. As a regular AROffline contributor, I take umbrage at the suggestion that we’re all out to see MG fail. I’ve spent the vast amount of my adult life, buying, selling, repairing and writing about Longbridge products, but professionally and as a hobby.

    I spent time and money visiting Longbridge to see the production, design and sales facilities from the outset. Indeed, virtually two years ago to this day, I set out from a snow bound Newcastle, collected a photographer and covered the Press launch of the then new MG6 – at my own expense for this site.

    Last year for example, I successfully argued with my editor on Car Mechanics to run an article on the MG6. Yet nobody from MG cared about my glowing coverage. I also visited Longbridge 3 times last year, did the tour a couple of times and repeatedly BEGGED to be loaned a new or used MG6 for an article on here.

    Needless to say MG couldn’t supply me with a 6 of any description for any feature. Which leads to my next point; aside from this Facebook advert, what other publicity have Longbridge actually carried out this year, some 35 days-in and with a new ‘saviour model’ just launched?

    I’m at a loss as to where the brand can go from here.

  28. You’ve grasped the wrong end of the stick, Jagboy. I for one very much like the MG6 and want it to succeed, to the degree that I’ve put it on the shortlist for my next company vehicle. What drives me, and others here, to despair and disparaging comments about MG is the way the brand is being handled and marketed. We’re watching things die in the arse when both the brand, and the car, deserve so much better.

  29. The biggest part of the problem for me is trying to understand the dynamics between the Longbridge operation and the higher order in Shanghai. An all-new product like the MG6 which has risen from the ashes of April 2005 as a result of Britsh design engineers under new owners with their own agenda, final completion at the Longbridge assembly facility and with Chinese investment, should have a chance to sell in reasonable numbers.

    However, as we have long been critical of, the marketing and promotion of the product has been dire. Is this down to the Sales and Marketing managers simply following a marketing brief enforced by their overseas owners, having a small budget at their disposal, or a combination of both? Is MG Motor UK Ltd simply not filled with enough Sales and Marketing personnel with sufficient experience of working in a motor industry environment? Are SAIC actually aware of the problems with the MG6 in the UK in terms of poor promotion and realise that how you might promote a product in China is possibly not the same as in the more image-conscious UK and Western Europe?

    I genuinely wonder whether they have the right senior managers and directors at Longbridge involved in Sales and Marketing. Perhaps SAIC needs to be head-hunting some of the top people who work for much bigger car companies with UK offices, such as Skoda and Volkswagen. Whatever you might think of these brands and respective products, their marketing and advertising does help maintain brand consistancy.

    Parking a couple of MG6s in a full car park in a quiet traditional seaside town such as Budleigh Salterton, in East Devon, which they did in September 2011, is not the most effective way to sell cars. Even though the assembly line workers touring with the cars were very interesting to talk to, this wasn’t enough. I walked away genuinely dispondent by their efforts.

    Cheap and tacky style adverts such as the one that has created such outrage, will be perceived by those not enthusiastic about MGs as reflecting a brand and cars that are also cheap and tacky. It really is that simple. Few people want to drive cars that convey those connotations. Even fewer for cars costing upwards of £16,000.

    Either way the dynamics between Longbridge and SAIC are of concern.

  30. @6: It’s programme. Not program. And yes, not bothered about upsetting animal lovers, etc., it’s just extremely poorly judged. If your target market was 18 year olds, perhaps I could see some logic, but really, who is this going to appeal to?

  31. I think Keith has said it really, its NOT about hating MG or the product, its all about their incapability to look professional – viable & worthy of suport in a world where there is simply no market for bad cars or bad advertising.

    It seems that nothing was learnt from the post 2000 MG Rover days. Take a long look at that advert again and ask yourself “does that tempt me to hand over my 18 – 20K of poppy?”

    Some serious top grade engineers work at Longbridge and I meaan just that. They have the technology to build or create some belting cars – but all that is bunk if the advertising is run by total buffoons!

  32. MG UK are aware that the general perception is that they are crap at marketing. This is what is so frustrating; it’s not that they’re constrained by budgets, it’s that they are genuinely unapologetic and seemingly inept where these campaigns are concerned.

    They really do believe that they know best, resting on laurels of past career, and one can only wonder what the hell position MGR would have been in with talent from elsewhere in place.

  33. It comes across as a complete lack of joined up thinking. Excellent design and engineering team and investment whose potential is being destroyed by a bunch of incompetant idiots in the name of a ‘supposed’ marketing team. I have a test drive booked this weekend for a diesel ‘6’, however I am beginning to think I do not want to buy a car from a marque destined to fail if this is allowed to carry on any longer. The christmas press release was bad enough, but this is pathetic. Last night I watched the new Clio ‘ad’, now that is an example of how to do it!

  34. Normally stuff like this would need to be approved by say MG or whoever. I’d like to spend a a day working with marketing there to see what they do. I speak as a marketer.

  35. But it was not an advert, it was a sales man that is employed by the MG Sales Centre injecting a bit of humour into a face book page. It did not appear on a billboard,in the Sun Newspaper, or a motoring magazine. If it had not been posted on here, it would have only gone out to a limited number of people who “like” the MG sales centre page.
    Anyway how many of you buy your insurance via a company that has a fluffy meerkat in a dressing gown in its adverts?

  36. Have the sales centre sold any cars off the back of this ad?

    Its just needs one sale confirmed from it to equal the big bucks Ridley Scott TV advert.

    You could then say its MG’s ‘Value’ advertising push…..where every sale helps.

  37. I buy my insurance from a company with a stylised ‘Q’ and no meerkets, opera singers or well endowed cartoon women in sight.

  38. *70, that is the danger of social ‘media’, it doesn’t stop there. If it had been a really good ‘advert’ it would also have gone viral, to use the language of the medium, but in a positive manner. It still indicates an infantile attitude and poor professional judgment by those involved. At least the meerkat campaign works.

  39. The Oxford definition of an advert is to call attention or turn attention,no matter how poor or negative the feedback has been about this bit of horse play, with 70 plus comments on here it has worked!

  40. To quote the fockers sir:

    “But it was not an advert, it was a sales man that is employed by the MG Sales Centre injecting a bit of humour into a face book page. It did not appear on a billboard,in the Sun Newspaper, or a motoring magazine. ”

    Exactly it just got broadcast to the world wide web instead, through the social media site with the highest traffic…..

  41. Look, a TV ad doesn’t have to be a flashy (but ultimately pointless) Ridley Scott super advert. Look at Dacia and Kia. Nothing flash about them. It does what it says on the tin – Sells a car (or cars). I cannot understand why they cannot take a simple approach to their advertising by getting into the papers and doing those simple Daewoo style adverts. Even the Montego in the desert ad couldn’t have cost that much (you know, the one with the guys in their chairs doing window and sunroof winding movements, car entering the scene). Really…

    One good stroke of genius was the comparison charts but these were only run online and not in the local newspapers – which can’t cost that much!

  42. If Tesco pull the plug sponsoring the touring car team, that is them screwed. This is one of the biggest cock ups since Gerald Ratner called his wares crap!

  43. I am currently spending some work time in Southern China and over the past 3 weeks I have seen, on average, about 20 MG’s or Roewe’s a day and thats just one small area.. they are becoming quite popular.

    By the looks of things SAIC have rather lost interest or taken their eye off the ball. You cannot have a Chinese car company management team running or overseeing a non-chinese car business. Clearly I am stating the obvious but why does nobody tell them? I mean seriously?

  44. @76

    The advert needs to be SHOWN. It was on a handful of times around launch week (May 2011) and never seen on TV again. The same with the so-called ‘UK wide’ billboard campaign, I saw just one and bear in mind I am doing a 50+ mile commute across Staffs each day thats shameful.

    Dacia are showing an advert of similar length with studio and outdoor scenes that probably cost a small fortune. They also took out full page adverts in major newspapers announcing their arrival. MG could have done that, its not rocket science.

    To be frank I’m sick of defending them to all and sundry. Until MG Motor gets some solid leadership at the helm it will not improve. Guy Jones is not that person. There are charity shops out there with a more professional business plan.

  45. The advert struck me as being quite funny, if slightly “tasteless”. An advert aimed at a British audience which uses gallows humour/black humour to make a point. This country is famous for that sort of stuff – and the “old” MGR used to do it all the time with its adverts for the Z series cars.

  46. I think that’s called shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted 🙂

    But on a more serious note, it probably takes something like this for the powers that be at MG and SAIC to notice that some of the dealership’s advertising is a bit too “home made”.

  47. Talking of advertising,instead of showing Mazdas,Discos and other cars ads under pictures oh and Great Wall and Navaras,how about some MG6’s? Is it because of higher revenue from other car makers? instead of despairing and moaning show some dunkirk spirit and help them along.
    Seriously though,its probably some coke-head car salesman pissing around having a laugh,its not as if hes pulled his dick out on one of our kids,are we all such mard arses?
    lets be honest,most of us talk and dont do,its human nature. Where is the ARO e-petition to ask SAIC what they are playing at? If folk feel so strongly about it why has nobody arranged for all us “MG lovers” to visit Longbridge and ask the question? If its a BMW or a Mini you cant wait to cream yourselves, if its an MG6 oh its just Chinese wank.

  48. Who’s calling the MG 6 Chinese Wank anyway? I think it looks 100% Rover, if I could afford one I’d have one in heartbeat, “TCi Tech” all the way.
    I won’t be going talk to MG in person because:

    A-They probably won’t listen to me-why should they?

    B-I can’t be arsed.

  49. Francis? Wtf?

    And how do you know I haven’t? Do you think I was talking about the weather to the marketing and PR chaps in China last year when I visited Beijing?

    Now get a grip – I like the MG6 and have said so in a number of reviews. What I don’t like is the way the marque is currently being dragged through the mud by the current incumbents.

    You say the ad was by a salesman having a laugh. And you’re right. But it was wrong, it was unprofessional, and MG has said so. Directly to me. And that’s why this story no longer sits on the homepage.

  50. @86 At least you are honest and straight to the point.
    My point is,the vast majority moan about the car,its not cheap enough,its not advertised/SAIC are a joke,the list goes on…i know the car is sound.If £80 million was spent advertising this car and they didnt sell 200,000 in the first year there would be uproar on this site,so no matter what you cant win.Its just a silly ad made up by a guy so what? There would be uproar if a bloody sidelight bulb blew on an MG6 i’d bet.

  51. I do care about MG, but somehow I feel they have to learn that hard way. It’s not like selling cars is a new thing and there’s so much knowledge and experience out there…but they are utterly, utterly clueless.
    I think trying to talk to MGUK would be like talking to a brick wall.

  52. @88 watch it,they are made in china.Kieth,i dont know but imagine you work very very hard on this site,and take the Marque seriously.I do as well.I have seen worse car adverts, the Kia Chairman executive car,inferring princess Di would not have died if she was in a Kia product,the why’s and where’s about the MG6 is just going to be perpetual conjecture.To be honest,i dont find the ad either funny or dull or sad,if anything its making light of the very serious lack of trust we should be having in the companies that put food on our shelves for our consumption.
    You may find my contributions on this forum irksome most of the time but my views are no less important than the next mans.I’m a born petrol head,and im fanatical about the survival of MG and so it goes i will perhaps speak out of line or disagree fervantly with others as regards the MG marque-but always with what you and others do for this site and not in disrespect of it,

  53. Francis

    The problem is they diddnt spend hard cash advertising, chosing to use twatter or facebonk instead.

    Many people have recently expressed their concern regarding public perception and a friend of mine subsequently sank 100K in a dealer only to go bust inside a year owing to products not coming to fruition in time as promised.

    The car is good – the engineering prowess is equally impressive but its all totally wasted with current public perception and low rent media – has anything been learnt from all the lessons of the failed MG Rover concern?

    We shout and play hell for the reason Keith has stated – some of actually give a shit!

  54. @93 Agreed. Well, i dont know what to say (a first) either SAIC dont care-which im not prepared to accept at this stage or something must be in the pipeline i just dont know.
    Maybe latent frustration is slowly creeping up on me,all i know is since the gates closed at MGR,which upset me far more than i like to admit,i have been hooked on this marque to almost biblical proportions.

  55. @ Francis Brett. I can relate to that. I can still remember the news breaking, on the ITV late evening news. What frustrates me, is seeing how we’re so close to a dream which seemed impossible a few years ago, and to see MGUK, sorry, pissing it away. Surely, the most basic, basic part of selling something is to let people know it exists. We’ve had one TV advert with “that” MGB and a few ads in the car magazines when they started up again. That’s not enough. Advertising is something which needs to be persistent, otherwise the product will just slip from people’s minds. But MG seem hell bent on doing it their way (badly). And do MGUK not know that when you advertise you need to create a good image? Rubbish like this and their dreadful YouTube channel has given them the image of Alan Partridge crossed with black lace. Great, that’s going to shift cars. They CAN’T be stupid, so why are they acting like it?

  56. Findus have come along to save the day with their 100% horse meat lasagne, there are bound to be more revelations with other food producers. Could MG be ahead of the curve for once? don’t be daft

  57. If they don’t sort things out pronto, they are for want of a better word f**ked here in the UK. If sales do not improve by around September this year, they may as well call it a day. Why are they so shit scared of advertising it? That is the question we should all be asking

  58. A find the above ad not just poor but almost childish. It could almost be applied to any car by a nine year old lad – no horse meat but plenty of horse power – a weak play on words with no link to the MG6’s unique selling points. It even looks like a child’s scribble on a car ad in a Sunday magazine.

  59. I didn’t go for my test drive on Saturday, mainly due to my wife being laid up with a cold however I note the dealers haven’t chased me up and neither did they contact me to remind me of the appointment. Maybe they read this!

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