Montana at the Movies

Pontiac Minivan Spot Rolls Into Theaters
DETROIT–General Motors’ Pontiac-GMC division is taking one of its TV spots for the Pontiac Montana minivan to the big screen.
A specially edited 40-second version of “Comin’ Home,” a spot that broke nationally in January, makes its way onto 3,700 movie screens nationwide starting this week in a partnership with Screenvision, said Kevin Boyle, vice president and brand marketing partner at Pontiac agency D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich. It marks the first time since the mid-1980s that a Pontiac commercial is running in movie houses.
The spot will run in two four-week flights. During the second flight, beginning in mid-May, Montana product displays and signage will be placed in theaters in eight markets: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Miami, Boston, Hartford, Conn., and Columbus, Ohio. Dealer tie-in promotions are also in the works for those markets, Boyle said. May is a peak time for dealer showroom traffic from potential minivan consumers, he added.
The spot will run before G- and PG-rated movies, including the new Star Wars film The Phantom Menace, in hopes of reaching the family-oriented consumers that generally buy minivans, Boyle said.
“We’re really just trying to reach the consumer in a different way,” Boyle said. “[Movie theater advertising] is a relatively untapped market.”
The promotion does not affect the spot’s TV media schedule or any other part of the campaign, Boyle said. GM spent about $31 million on advertising for the Montana through the first 11 months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Massaging the original spot into a theater commercial was easy since it already had a movie trailer feel and was light on copy, said Chris McCarthy, DMB&B senior copywriter. “All of the Montana spots have been high-adventure that really reaches out and engages people,” he said. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it look great on the big screen?'”
The spot continues the minivan’s tagline, “Life is more exciting in Montana.” The vehicle, previously called the Trans Sport, was rechristened the Montana last fall.
Dariusz Wolski, who directed the ad, has served as director of photography on several major motion pictures, including Crimson Tide and A Perfect Murder, which made him perfect for the Montana job, said Harriet Hitchcock, DMB&B senior art director.

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