Buick Drives Epcot Tie-In: McCann Crafts Multimedia Disney/Century Promo

DETROIT-General Motors is taking its marketing alliance with Walt Disney Co. to the brand level for the first time with a multimedia campaign for the Buick Century from McCann-Erickson.
The program is a prototype for the “inclusive” approach to marketing strategies, coordinating both new and traditional media, that Phil Guarascio, vice president and general manager of GM’s North American Operations marketing and advertising group, said he has been pushing all GM divisions and their agencies to develop [Adweek, June 30].
The Century is the automaker’s first nameplate linked to the new GM-sponsored Test Track attraction at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center.
The ride is scheduled to open later this year. The promotion, “Discover the ride of the Century,” began Aug. 15 and runs through Sept. 30.
It includes a dedicated 30-second national TV spot that breaks Sept. 1 on broadcast and cable networks. It will replace the other Century spots during the month of September, said Pat Heffernan, group account director for the Century brand at McCann’s Troy, Mich., office.
“The nice thing about the theme is that Disney calls Epcot, where Test Track is, its Discovery park. The Century [ad] theme is, ‘Discover a little luxury in this Century.’ So we’ve created a theme for the promotion that builds on the equity of both,” Heffernan said.
Buick spent $19 million during the first five months of 1997 on the Century sedan, according to Competitive Media Reporting. That compares to spending $514,000 in 1996 and $4.2 million for 1995, according to CMR.
In addition to the TV spot, the promotion includes print ads in Disney publications such as Family Fun and Discover, which break in September issues, on sale this week.
Also, McCann Interactive worked with the Internet Factory in Birmingham, Mich., on new links to the Century Internet site (www.buick.com/century) that will promote the sweepstakes and a special test-drive offer.
Consumers can enter the sweepstakes either at the Web site or at dealerships. Participants who test drive the new Century will receive a free Disney Video Package, said R.J. Nelson, Century account director at Momentum IMC, McCann’s promotions division.
Dealer Marketing Groups will be given the incentive of extra sweepstakes prizes to participate in the promotion. They will be provided with a version of the national spot that can be customized with dealership locations to run in local markets.
The promotion also includes interactive shopping mall displays in 50 key markets in September.