GMC Campaign Tied To 'Monday Night Football' Sponsorship

General Motors' GMC division is kicking off a fall campaign tied to its third-year sponsorship of NFL "Monday Night Football." The effort--also involving ESPN, which broadcasts the games--backs the GM truck division's Acadia, Sierra Denali and Yukon Denali vehicles.

The campaign, via Lowe, N.Y.*, includes broadcast and print ads and also features an interactive promotional element in which consumers can help pick the NFL Player of the Week. The advertising includes ads that star current football players, and ads that show footage of games past, and even an ad or two showing vehicles like the GMC Sierra Denali pickup darting about a football field like a player.

The effort features online and TV pitches by ESPN NFL hosts Kenny Mayne, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, who tell consumers to participate in the "Pro Grade Challenge" (GMC's long-standing tag line is "We are Professional Grade"). The promotion is also integrated with weekly TV studio debates about each "Monday Night Football" game by "Pardon the Interruption" hosts Kornheiser and Wilbon. Fans who vote will have a chance to win the grand prize--three GMC Pro Grade vehicles. Other prizes include weekly trips for two to Super Bowl XLII and $50 gift cards.



The online promotion, GMC's "Pro Grade Challenge," is integrated with the GMC-sponsored Defensive Player of the Week feature on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" coverage. Developed in partnership with the NFL, GMC is supporting with an NFL redesign of its home page, driving consumers to The effort also gets play on

Essentially, five players will be nominated by the NFL, and fans will vote weekly for "Who wants it more"--who they think should be GMC's Defensive Player of the Week for each of the 17 weeks of the season, culminating in Player of the Year recognition.

At GMC's microsite for the effort, positions the viewer at the end zone of a fictive NFL stadium, "Pro Grade Field." Mayne strolls by on his way to his seat and pauses to address the "camera," pitching the promotion and prizes, and exhorting participants not to embarrass him with their choices. The site also shows NFL clips, trivia questions and other content.

GMC also gets product placement from the deal, with GMC vehicles appearing during broadcasts like last week's Monday Night Football season opener, where the three trucks were featured. The ad push will also include a co-branded ESPN "Monday Night Football" tune-in spot, and GMC gets mention during weekly segments on ESPN radio.

Meanwhile, the GMC Sierra gets showcased in ads that put it on the football field, where it shows off its fleetness and maneuverability by acting like a player. Ads carry the theme line, "The Official Truck of the NFL."

At retail, GMC is offering vehicles in NFL-team packages, with decals and accessories related to the team of choice.

GMC aired the first 90-second football-themed spot in 2005, when it was named "the official vehicle of the NFL." The following year marked the introduction of a weekly promotion spanning the entire regular season, which GMC says was the largest promo in NFL history.

* Editor's note: The story was amended post-publication.

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