Pontiac Uses Its Biggest Ad Budget To Play Up The ‘Solid’ Grand Am




DETROIT – Pontiac this week kicks off the biggest model campaign in its history – more than $100 million – for the 1999 Grand Am. A $4-5 million effort targeting Hispanics will follow in June and run through year’s end.
The new ads play up the sturdiness of the car. One TV spot, from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Bloomfield, Hills, Mich., opens at a day-care center where young kids and babies are rattling their rattles, shaking their cars and squeaking toys. A voiceover says, “Its new solid-form design provides a stronger body structure so rattles are a thing of the past.” The camera then pans to a baby, who says, “Hmm … solid!” Another spot focuses on a lack of squeaks in the car.
The brand campaign follows a teaser TV spot that broke in March during the NCAA Basketball Tournament. An X-ray of the car was shown with the tagline, “Excitement well built.”
The “solid” message is meant to address a widely-held perception that Japanese cars are stiffer, more solid and rattle-free than their Detroit rivals. “That’s what our customers and prospects tell us is important to them,” said assistant brand manager Jeff Edwards.
Spots for last year’s model focused on the car’s engineering, durability and “driving excitement,” and used the tagline, “Built for kicks, built for keeps.”
For the first time, said Edwards, Pontiac is airing TV spots (by Bromley, Aguilar & Associates, San Antonio) specifically for the Hispanic audience. In the past, Pontiac had dubbed its English spots.
Grand Am has been among the 10 top selling cars since 1992, with roughly 60 percent of its sales to women. Spots will air on network, cable and syndicated TV.
– with Tanya Gazdik