GM's Chevy Division Hopes To Paint Tinseltown Green

Chevrolet is promoting fuel-efficiency as part of its "official vehicle" status at this year's 50th-anniversary Grammy Awards on Feb. 10. The GM division will show off the Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric concept car on the red carpet, and a fleet of Chevrolet hybrid and E85 FlexFuel SUVs will carry attendees from event to event.

Chevrolet will have 100 Tahoe Hybrids, FlexFuel E85 Tahoe and Suburban SUVs on hand to take talent to the awards telecast and related events. GM says it will be the first time a "fuel-friendly" fleet of vehicles this size has been part of a branded partnership for a major awards show.

A spokesperson for Chevrolet says the division will also advertise during the show, with ads--one starring Mary J. Bilge--touting Chevy Malibu, and the GM "Gas Friendly to Gas Free" campaign. While this is GM's fourth year as Grammy sponsor, the company, during the last two years, has used its association with the awards show to tout its Cadillac division, per a spokesperson.



Both Chevrolet and Pontiac have been General Motors' music-marketing divisions. Chevrolet is also lead sponsor of the Country Music Awards and the Video Music Awards (VMA). "Chevy does so much in the music channel already that it just made sense to make the Grammys a Chevy property, as well," says they spokesperson.

She notes that last year Chevrolet had a fleet of E85 Tahoes and Suburban SUVs at the VMA. Interpublic Group's Plan*R handles product placement, logistics and PR at such events.

This year, sponsorship activities will include a partnership with local Westwood One radio in L.A., involving vehicle loans to DJs and branding at the station's post at Staples Center--the awards-show venue--as well as on-air placement.

Also on tap are print ads in People magazine, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, as well as in official Grammy's publications. The spokesperson said Chevrolet will advertise in People's Grammy-week insertion, and on "The ads will be for Malibu and for Chevrolet's fuel messaging featuring cars like Cobalt, HHR and Aveo [which GM is touting for as high MPG vehicles]," she says. Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., handles.

Cadillac will still be at the show, but at a pre-Grammy charity event, "Music Cares", on the Friday before the Grammys, per the spokesperson. The event honors Aretha Franklin, who won a Grammy in 1985 for "Freeway to Love," a song in which a pink Cadillac serves as rolling boudoir. For the charity event, GM will donate for auction a Cadillac CTS--a pink one--signed by Franklin.

The spokesperson said GM will do "a lot more of this type of activity around fuel efficiency and drive Hollywood to be green" this year.

The company will have to usurp Toyota in that regard. Toyota has gotten a PR advantage by getting Hollywood celebs to tool around Tinseltown in Priuses. The Grammys may be a good start. The spokesperson says she hasn't seen many music stars roll up in the Toyota hybrids. At least not with their band and gear in tow.

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