GM Takes Chevy Traverse Out To Old Ball Game

Chevy commercial for TraverseChevrolet has sponsored the World Series for the past two years to promote its Silverado pickup truck and Malibu sedan. This time around, the GM brand will use the series to promote its newest crossover vehicle, the Chevy Traverse. 

The effort, comprising TV, game venue and digital efforts, includes two TV spots for Traverse--one of which debuted Wednesday night, plus ads for Chevrolet Silverado and a Chevy brand spot that extends its "Gas friendly to gas free" fuel economy positioning.

The new Traverse spot, which aired during the Chevy Pre-Game Show and Game One on Fox, is suggestive of the Spanish film "Pan's Labyrinth." In the 30-second ad, a Minotaur marches through a forest past nymphs, satyrs, unicorns and other fantastical beasts. What stops him in his tracks, however, is a Traverse parked in a clearing.



The bull-headed creature approaches, peers in the window and kicks the proverbial tires, while a voiceover touts features like the vehicle's eight-passenger capacity, and 24-mpg rating. "It's not a myth ... it's everything you ever wished for, and then some." The ads are by Austin and El Paso, Texas-based SandersWingo (Chevy's African-American and urban AOR); Detroit-based Campbell-Ewald is Chevy's general market AOR.

SandersWingo also did creative for Traverse ads this fall starring R&B star Mary J. Blige. Those ads are running on Black Entertainment Television and BET J, TBS, MTV and VH1 Soul and VH1 Hip-Hop Honors.

Print ads featuring the Traverse and Blige appear in the November and December issues of Ebony, Essence, Odyssey Colour, Sister-to-Sister and Vibe magazines; the November issues of American Legacy, Black Enterprise and Gospel Truth; and the December issues of O and Heart & Soul. Other placements and partnerships may be announced.

Chevrolet will also advertise Traverse in the World Series game program, and two of the vehicles will be on display at the series venues, St. Petersburg, Fla.'s Tropicana Field and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Also, messaging for the vehicle will flash on home plate signage, in video billboards and other areas visible to TV cameras.

The campaign also includes the Web site, where one can sign up to win a trip to the 2009 All Star Game. The Web site also has video that features Fox Sports announcer Jeanne Zelasko, who is hosting the Chevy Pre-Game Show. In the videos she does a vehicle walk-around to tout specific features.

Chevrolet is also sponsoring the "Chevrolet Player of the Game" segment World Series's Most Valuable Player awards--in which the winner gets a 2010 Chevy Camaro--which launches next spring. In Game Three of the Series, MLB and Chevy will name the national winner of the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award Presented by Chevy.

General Motors was late to the crossover game, rolling out the GMC Acadia in 2006, followed by the Buick Enclave and Saturn Outlook. Still, the $29,000 vehicle--which GM begins selling next month, and started advertising during the Beijing Olympics--stands to drive sales by pulling consumers out of fuel-hungry traditional SUVs, say analysts.

"I think they will get a lot of buyers from [truck-based] SUVs, and from minivans--from anyone who needs a family passenger mover," says Haig Stoddard, analyst with the Detroit office of Lexington, Mass.-based marketing firm Global Insight. He adds that GM is likely to produce some 160,000 Traverses per year out of its plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.

"So, I think it's reasonable volume; it will be a slightly lower-cost alternative to [siblings] like the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia." Stoddard adds that Traverse may also fill a gap left when the company stops building the TrailBlazer SUV this year, and Ford the Explorer next year. "I think as GM and Ford pull out of sport-ute market that should help their volume."

Says Jim Hossick, senior consultant at AutoPacific: "There isn't a good market for anything now, but in terms of share of industry, something like a Traverse will do just fine."

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