General Motors Shooting Year-End Ads In Dealership

General Motors will launch year-end clearance ads for Pontiac, GMC and Buick, just as it and other automakers typically do. What's different here is the background.

The ads will be shot at a new dealership that evinces a distribution strategy launched five years ago to group the three brands at dealerships and an associated retail-image campaign focusing on the showroom housing the three brands under one dealership roof.

The dealership, Classic Buick-Pontiac-GMC in Streetsboro, Ohio, whose grand opening was in May, will be the backdrop of a national, retail advertising campaign pitching year-end deals for the three divisions. It is the first such dealership to be featured in ads.

General Motors says that to date, some 1,600 dealers have grouped the three brands together--selling 70% percent of the volume for the three brands, up from 56% last year.

Cara Wilson, general manager of the dealership, explains that the new look encompasses a black-and-chrome color scheme and a single showroom with high ceilings. "Everything is black and chrome, and there's a very large, open, airy feel; the sales offices don't have the usual glass windows--they're open offices, so customers can walk right in," she says.



Scott Bell, field advertising manager for Buick, Pontiac and GMC, says the ads, shot by Leo Burnett, Chicago, will break by year-end. "It's all about retail. So, obviously, we like to do advertising in that light, within a dealership. Jim Brown's Streetsboro dealership is one of the first to incorporate that image from the ground up."

He says that that there will be one ad for each of the three divisions. "Typically, when we do event-type ads we try to show an environment that's familiar--a shopping atmosphere," he says. "We have used dealership-type footage in the past but this is our first big attempt to feature the new look and feel of the three brands."

He says about 1,600 GM dealers are now selling the three brands together with "a few hundred who have enrolled in the image program."

General Motors first linked GMC and Pontiac brands in dealerships in the mid-1990s. In 2002, the company announced it would include Buick. In 2005, General Motors said Cadillac and Chevrolet would be the only brands under the GM umbrella selling a full range of vehicles from compacts to trucks. GMC, Pontiac, Buick, as well as Saturn, Saab and Hummer--would have narrower ranges of products aligned with each brands' identity: Pontiac for performance, GMC for trucks and SUVs, and Buick as a luxury brand, albeit on offering a smaller range of vehicles.

Ultimately the company wants its eight brands sold in four channels with Chevrolet and Saturn sold separately; and Cadillac, Hummer and Saab sold at one dealership.

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