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GM Plans Massive Mail Assault

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General Motors has tapped Campbell-Ewald Advertising to handle a direct mail effort for what the automaker is calling its largest incentive program aimed at current GM vehicle owners.
Hoping to boost the automaker's faltering market share, the Loyalty First program offers rebates to original owners who still have GM vehicles from model years 1986 to 1998. In those years, GM sold about 60 million vehicles, although the company declined to reveal how many rebate offers are being issued.
Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., was selected from GM's agency roster for the huge campaign because "their direct mail capabilities and database expertise [can] get the program turned around quickly," said GM representative Donna Fontana. The shop declined comment.
While the GM corporate coffer is covering the cost of the mailing, funding of the rebates will come out of the marketing budget, Fontana said. "This is within the normal marketing incentive budget" and is preplanned, nonincremental spending, she said.
Sources said the marketing budgets for individual Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac models will cover the cost of the rebates. That has created some concern among GM divisions and their agencies that, depending on rebate-induced sales, certain budgets could be hit harder than others and be depleted, according to sources. But Fontana said the program's expenditures will not be "in lieu of anything else.