Chevy Launches Ad Challenge

DETROIT Chevrolet is courting fledgling marketing talents to develop a spot to be broadcast during Super Bowl XLI in February, on what has become the largest marketing stage in the world.

The “Chevy Super Bowl College Ad Challenge” is a contest that looks to full-time college students to promote the automaker’s new vehicle line, which includes the Cobalt, HHR, Aveo and Equinox via a 30-second broadcast spot. The students can assemble teams of up to three people, with campaign concepts aimed at the younger car buyer and submitted in a finished format, including storyboards and script.

Contestants will register at through Sept. 22, with an Oct. 13 entry deadline.

Faculty at schools that do not have teams participating in the contest will first judge entries. Five finalists win a trip to Detroit to present their ideas to Chevrolet executives and representatives from primary ad agency Campbell-Ewald, Detroit.

The winner’s spot will be shown during the championship game, where a 30-second ad commands around $2.6 million. Some 90.7 million viewers tuned in last February.

“This is a contest that fits in well with our overall campaign for 2007,” said Steve McGuire, advertising manager for Chevrolet. “We are asking the people entering to look at how we can market to a younger group, to get that audience interested in Chevy products, to ignite passion and increase the buzz about Chevy cars. We have a specific creative brief, and we will look to see how the entries match against that brief.”

The spot will ultimately be produced by Campbell-Ewald.

The average age of a Chevrolet buyer is 46, matching that of the industry. Chevrolet looks to younger buyers as it banks on sales of sedans like the Aveo and the Cobalt, which have increased along with gas prices this year.

The Super Bowl contest is being handled in partnership with EdVenture Partners, a Berkeley, Calif.-based company that helps companies market their products on more than 400 campuses nationwide. Along with GM, which owns Chevrolet, EdVenture has also worked on youth-oriented marketing efforts with Ford, Toyota, Honda and Subaru.

The contest has not yet had a formal launch, said Tony Sgro, founder of EdVenture, but some teams have already registered.

“This will be a viral effort primarily,” Sgro said. By using younger marketers, via a contest, “Chevrolet will get a cool factor that is so hard to get. People come to us for real world results aiming at Generation Y.”

The Super Bowl effort is the latest by Chevrolet in an effort to engage both younger marketers and the youth market itself. In April, Chevrolet partnered with the Public Relations Student Society of America for a contest in which entrants competed on a campaign for the 2007 Aveo.

In 2005, Chevrolet turned to a business school at the University of Arizona, looking for ideas to regionally market the Cobalt.