Chevy Hangin' On To Sponsorship Like A Tick To A Dawg's Ear

General Motors' Chevrolet division has extended for three more years its longstanding relationship with the Country Music Association. (CMA).

Chevy has been a sponsor of the CMA awards show and associated CMA Country Music Festival for 15 years. The automaker's status as "Official Ride of the Country Music Association" starts next week in Nashville, Tenn., where Chevrolet will run a plethora of events at the festival, which runs Wednesday through Sunday.

Chevrolet's title sponsorship of the CMA-produced event involves outdoor concerts, test drives, interactive events and sporting activities involving some 400 artists, 70 hours of concerts, 30 hours of autograph signings, family activities and the like, per the company.

The festival, which two years ago was held in New York's Union Square, begins with a parade in which country music stars ride down the street - in this case Nashville thoroughfares - in Chevrolet vehicles, including a "wrapped" Chevy Silverado pickup.



Events will center on the Chevy Music Tour Stage, where concerts will be held. Chevy will run vehicle displays, a sweepstakes for a chance to come to come back and attend the awards ceremony and XM Radio kiosks. Chevrolet will host performances by country stars and also - for the first time - blue grass and Hispanic country music performers.

Chevrolet is also running programs that let people mingle with musicians, including a free Chevy-vehicle test-drive program and an event called the Chevy Sports Zone, in which fans and celebrities compete against each other in recreational activities such as archery, automated bull riding, basketball, football, golf, an off-road truck competition and a tractor race, per a Chevy spokesperson.

Chevrolet will also stage photo shoots for a country music-themed calendar that is released close to the CMA awards show in November.

"We try to enhance our involvement every year," says the spokesperson, "but the focus really is Chevy trucks."

He adds that communications around Chevy's CMA involvement, including advertising around this year's awards show on ABC, will be imbued with GM's corporate advertising for fuel economy and ethanol-capable vehicles. "We will have a lot of focus on flex-fuel vehicles and the fact that we have several models getting over 30 miles per gallon."

He said that while Chevrolet hasn't mapped out its role in this year's CMA awards ceremony, "traditionally, we have helped provide vehicles that bring people to the red carpet. There's also our media partnership with ABC around an advance concert for fans, but nothing's locked in yet."

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