Olds, ABC Start Something

Alero Giveaway Program With Retailers Is Launched
DETROIT–General Motors’ Oldsmobile division today begins an Alero giveaway promotion with ABC that the automaker and network claim is the largest automotive sweepstakes ever conducted.
Confirming an earlier report [Adweek, Aug. 17], Olds announced details of its “Start Something Tuesdays on ABC Sweepstakes,” through which it will give away 170 of its new 1999 Alero sedans. The promotion ties the Alero to ABC’s Tuesday prime-time lineup, which includes two new sitcoms, “Sports Night” and “The Hughleys,” along with returning shows “Spin City” and “Home Improvement.”
Spots from ABC agency TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, begin airing today on 150 of the network’s affiliate stations, inviting viewers to call 1-888-ABC-Alero for instructions on how to enter the sweepstakes. Callers will be directed to a local “third-party retailer”–one of many different businesses participating, market by market–to obtain an entry form. The retail partners, not Olds, will pay for the TV spots airing on their local ABC affiliate. In return, the partner in each market will receive an Alero to give away through the sweepstakes.
The entry form will include trivia questions about the four ABC Tuesday night shows. Entrants will need to watch the “premiere week” shows on Sept. 22 to obtain the correct answers. Winners will be drawn Oct. 6. Viewers in nonparticipating markets will get a chance to win one of 10 Aleros to be awarded nationally.
Olds agency Leo Burnett, its Starcom Media Services wing and GM’s MediaWorks media buying unit developed the promotion with ABC. Dan Longest, ABC vice president for promotion marketing, said spending could not be determined.
Olds’ ad spending for Burnett’s “Start something” launch campaign for Alero is estimated at $80 million. The promotion will also be supported by national print ads and point-of-sale materials at the participating retailers.