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When the first film in the “Transformers” franchise debuted in 2007, General Motors couldn’t do enough to emphasize the symbolism of its vehicles morphing into battle-ready robots.

“The movie title itself is a very strong communication device for the transformation of our company for delivering outstanding products in the marketplace,” Bob Kraut, then GM’s director of brand marketing and advertising told the trade paper Automotive News. “Transformation is great to live under if you want to communicate that. Thank God there’s a movie called ‘Transformers’ that we can play in.”

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