General Motors is introducing the Prizm as a full-fledged Chevrolet model with advertising that broke last week in four markets. A national rollout of the campaign to more than 40 markets begins in January.
Prizm previously was marketed under the Geo brand, which GM created as a Chevrolet subline in the late 1980s to compete with imports. But the automaker opted to drop the Geo line starting with the '98 vehicle models.
"It's the right time to move [Prizm] over to Chevrolet," said Bill Ludwig, executive creative director of Warren, Mich.-based Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Chevrolet's national agency. "[The Prizm] is a more natural fit for Chevrolet today than it was for Geo."
Consumers have a more favorable opinion of domestic automakers today, and Chevrolet's image ratings in particular have "skyrocketed," Ludwig said.
The campaign includes TV, print and outdoor ads, as well as an extensive direct mail campaign from CEA's sister agency, C-E Communications, also in Warren. All work introduces the Prizm's new tagline: "Relax. This is one great car."
Two of the three 30-second TV spots highlight that dependability, while the third execution is linked to the direct mail campaign. In one spot, titled "Poof," all the undependable, malfunctioning elements of the central character's life--from the smoking toaster to the deadbeat husband--disappear. The only item that remains is the reliable Prizm.
General Motors spent $19.5 million on the Geo Prizm in the '97 model year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. That figure is expected to rise for '98.
Print ads feature a beauty shot of the car and surrounding copy blocks highlighting new features. Ads will run in more than two dozen lifestyle and shelter magazines.