Minnesota Program Reflects GM’s Local Focus

A Pontiac marketing project in Minnesota reflects Gen eral Motors’ decision to put greater emphasis on regional advertising efforts.

The brand’s local dealer marketing group in Minneapolis and St. Paul wanted to modify the national “Pass it on” campaign to tie in with GM’s sponsorship of the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild hockey team.

A casting call was held in December, and four local residents were given the keys to Grand Ams for one weekend. They were filmed as they drove around the area and stopped for a hockey lesson from Brad Bombardir of the Wild.

The footage was turned into a 30-second TV spot that started airing locally on Fox Sports Net last week. The ad will run through the end of March.

The regional project was coor dinated by Paula McFarland, lo cal advertising and mar keting man ager for Pontiac. The company’s reg ional dealer mar keting is handled by The D’Arcy Martin Group, the retail division of nat ional Pon tiac agency D’Arcy Mas ius Be n ton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., which created the “Pass it on” campaign.

General Motors spent about $180 million on Pontiac advertising nationally through the first 10 months of 2001, according to CMR. Local efforts are funded with cash from dealers that is matched by GM.

With budgets tight and spending expected to be flat at best this year, GM has said it will focus more on regional campaigns like the one in Minnesota.

“There has been some change in the mix because we’re being more aggressive in the regional advertising with the local marketing groups,” GM vice president and general manager, vehicle brand marketing and corporate advertising, John Middlebrook said last month.

McFarland, D’Arcy Martin and a dealer advisory board meet mon thly to go over ad plans.