In the weeks after 9/11, the ad industry responded with uplifting messages. The Ad Council released “I am an American,” a spot showing the nation’s diversity. BBDO led a pro bono campaign dubbed the New York Miracle. General Motors, for its part, offered up “Keep America Rolling,” combining a pro-America pitch with zero percent financing.
GM’s controversial campaign is the most memorable from the period. I respected, and respect, GM for having the guts to go on air 10 days after the tragedy with a campaign intended to drive business forward.
On the eve of that campaign, Ad Age quoted Ron Zarrella, then president of GM's North American operations: “We know this is a difficult time to talk about an incentive program, but GM has a responsibility to help stimulate the economy by encouraging Americans to purchase vehicles, to support our dealers and suppliers and to keep our plants operating and our employees working.”