Chevy Promo Offers Hoop Dreams

NCAA Tournament Tie-In Puts Forth Silverado as the Grand Prize
DETROIT–General Motors’ Chevrolet division is teaming with Sports Illustrated to sponsor the “ultimate fantasy college basketball tournament,” which includes a contest in which fans have a chance to win a 1999 Chevy Silverado.
While Chevy has sponsored the regular game grid for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship for the past several years, the automaker wanted to do something unique this year in connection with the recent launch of its all-new Silverado pickup truck, said Rick Scheidt, Silverado brand manager.
A four-page insert appearing in the next five issues of SI, starting with the March 8 issue, was created by Chevy’s national agency, Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Warren, Mich. The agency has also produced radio spots and Internet activities for the promotion, Scheidt said.
Two 30-second TV spots from CEA for the Silverado broke recently and will air during the tournament, but are unrelated to this promotion, Scheidt said. “We’ve got a huge product story to tell about Silverado and the tournament and this promotion is one part of it. But we didn’t want to throw all of our dollars against it because we’ve got a lot to say,” he said.
Several new TV spots for Silverado are planned for mid-to-late summer, he added.
Chevy and SI enlisted CBS Sports announcer Billy Packer to make selections in the fantasy bracket, which pairs the past 60 NCAA champions plus four wild card teams. Fans will have a chance to enter their own teams as selections for the ultimate winner either by returning a postcard insert in the magazine or going to Chevy’s Web site. All consumers who pick the winning team will be entered into the contest to win a new Silverado.
Pairing what Chevy calls its “bigger, faster, stronger and smarter version of the most dependable, longest-lasting truck on the road today” with “the all-time greatest basketball tournament” seemed like a natural fit, said Mark-Hans Richer, Chevy manager of truck advertising.
Males across a wide age spectrum are the pickup’s main target, Richer said. Having teams in the fantasy tournament that go back a number of years is a promotion designed for that target because such an approach can draw interest across many age groups, he said.