Ross Martin of Viacom's creative strategy unit is working with General Motors to help revive interest in cars among young consumers. Martin is the executive vice president of MTV Scratch, the part of Viacom that consults with brands about connecting with consumers. He and his team are trying to help General Motors deal with the fact that many young consumers today just do not care that much about cars. In 2008, 46.3% of potential drivers 19 years old and younger had drivers’ licenses, compared with 64.4% in 1998, according to the Federal Highway Administration, and drivers ages 21 to 30 drove 12% fewer miles in 2009 than they did in 1995.
Forty-six percent of drivers aged 18 to 24 said they would choose Internet access over owning a car, according to the research firm Gartner. The five-year strategic vision that Scratch has developed for Chevrolet includes rethinking GM's corporate culture and enlightening the Detroit automaker with MTV insights that made hits out of “Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom." Martin has recruited “insurgents,” young Chevrolet employees who are willing to change things from the inside and report to him on skeptical executives.