GM Preps Push for Credit Cards

DETROIT General Motors is adding two credit cards to its portfolio, one targeting small business owners and the other geared toward GM employees, suppliers and relatives, the company said.

Upcoming national and local advertising will support the GM Business Card, said Jack Bowen, the former GM Card general director who was recently named GM Customer Network general director. That work will include print ads, direct mail and Web efforts.

Interpublic Group shops Mullen, Wenham, Mass., and directDeutsch, New York, and Grey Global Group’s Grey, also New York, worked on elements of the campaign, which carries the overall tagline, “Live. Earn. Drive,” according to Beverly Bryant-Jones, a representative of J.P. Morgan Chase, which is issuing the GM Business Card. directDeutsch no longer works on the account owing to its work for Bank of America, she said.

GM spent less than $100,000 on its credit card offerings in 2002, compared to $9 million in 2001, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. In 2000, the company spent $50 million to advertise the cards, per TNS/CMR.

The client has also created the GM Cardmember Services group to oversee the marketing and management of its credit cards, including the original GM Card, which gives members five percent earnings on every credit card purchase that can be used to purchase or lease a new GM vehicle. That program, which currently has 7 million enrollees and has resulted in the purchase of more than 4 million vehicles, is unaffected by the new initiatives.

GM Business Card accounts will earn 1 percent on all purchases and will earn an additional one percent on GM parts and service purchases at authorized GM Dealers.

The GM Extended Family Card will allow participants to combine unlimited 1 percent earnings with the special discount program offered to employees and family members. The card is from Household International, a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings and will be available in July to current GM employees, retirees and family members and in September to new consumers who are eligible to apply for it, such as suppliers.

This story updates a previously posted item.