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Olds Spreading Alero Tag

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'Start Something' Line Will Appear in All Model Ads
DETROIT--General Motors' Oldsmobile, which hasn't used a divisional tagline in several years, will adopt the "Start something" line, developed last year for the Alero model, in national and dealer ads for all models this year.
At last week's auto show here, Michael Sands, Olds advertising director, said that while the division has been striving to freshen its image for some time, the Alero campaign was the first that "truly resonated with consumers. It was like a light bulb went off in their head that Oldsmobile had changed."
The tagline introduced the Alero last fall in advertising from Leo Burnett, Chicago [Adweek, Aug. 17]. Olds spent about $200 million on ads through the first nine months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Individual models will keep their own taglines, but "Start something" will be added to the work. "All the campaigns will also play off the word 'start,'" Sands said. New TV spots for the Intrigue and Bravada, breaking later this quarter, will be the first to incorporate the new divisional tag. Alero advertising will continue as is, Sands said.
Displays at all of the auto show's GM model booths touted the automaker's OnStar navigational system option. Materials used a new positioning line, "Wherever you go, here we are," created by Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Warren, Mich., which has handled OnStar promotional work and created current TV spots for the system. Sources said GM has not decided whether ads later this year will use that line instead of the current tag, "OnStar. Always there to help," created by OnStar branding agency Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York.
Meanwhile, DaimlerChrysler's Dodge division has entered into a long-term marketing partnership with Universal Studios and its wide range of theme park, motion picture and new media properties, said Jim Julow, vice president of the division.
The deal will include Dodge marketing tie-ins with select motion pictures, Universal's Web site for college students (www.animalhouse.com) and its theme parks. In late June, four days before its official opening, Universal's new theme park in Orlando, Fla., Islands of Adventure, will welcome Dodge Caravan owners for the vehicle's first national reunion.
TV and print ads focusing on the linkup will be handled by BBDO, Southfield, Mich., Dodge's national agency. Ross Roy Communications in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., will handle an extensive direct mail effort. Between seven and eight million pieces of direct mail will be sent to all Dodge owners in the U.S. within the next six months, Julow said. Media placement will be handled by Pentacom, Troy, Mich.
Dodge spent nearly $400 million on advertising through the first nine months of 1998, per CMR.
Print ads, set to break in February in a variety of national magazines and newspapers, will partner the Dodge Caravan with Universal Studios characters such as Spiderman, Rocky and Bullwinkle and Dr. Seuss' the Cat in the Hat. They will feature the tagline "Adventure. Ride," which may become the tag for the TV spots as well, Julow said.
The TV work will debut in March to coincide with spring dealer events, Julow said.
GM's Cadillac division will also embark on a new direction in its advertising, said Ron Zarrella, GM's North American president and former marketing vice president. Cadillac unveiled a concept vehicle (not intended for production) called the Evoq at the auto show. The two-seater roadster and the division's dramatic show display--featuring the line "The fusion of art and science"--reflect Cadillac's vision for the future. It has not been decided whether that phrase will become a new divisional tagline, but "it does reflect our new brand positioning for Cadillac," Zarrella said.
Cadillac's longtime national agency, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Troy, will steer the advertising in this new direction, Zarrella said, and there is no plan for an agency review or a shift in shops. Cadillac's assignment of launch ads for its Escalade sport utility vehicle to Berlin Cameron & Partners, New York, last year had led to speculation that there might be such a review.
--with Sloane Lucas