Goodbye, Mr. Goodwrench.
In an auto industry marred by complexity, GM has taken the uncharacteristic step of simplification. Starting in February, the 40-year-old mascot for its service business, Mr. Goodwrench, will be no more.
Typically, I am a real fan and advocate for brand equity markers (think Mickey Mouse ears for Disney). In many cases, equity markers represent a tangible execution of a brand. These equity markers act as a brand’s surrogate when the brand is not being used to reinforce its promise in a simple and visual way.
In the case of Mr. Goodwrench, the equity marker actually worked against the brand and became a tired marker whose time has ended. GM attempted to centralize the service and repair business for all of its brands under one moniker. So what Mr. Goodwrench actually did was make the brand even more complicated by removing the association with the car brands and trying to force fit an association with it. Ask 10 General Motors owners what kind of car they have and you will immediately see the fallacy in this approach. They drive Chevys, GMCs, Cadillacs and Buicks. Their relationship with their car brand does not extend to GM.
In an industry where inefficiency and the nonsensical rule, GM has actually done something right. By ridding themselves of good Mr. Goodwrench, it is actually working to make its products and services less complex. Though I still think it is too early to say with any certainty, it seems as though GM may be finally listening to its customers for a change.
Kudos GM and good riddance to Mr. Goodwrench.