Taking its “May The Best Car Win” Program to the next level, GM is launching two experimental marketing programs for its core Chevrolet brand.
Auto Show Test Drives
The first program takes advantage of GM’s presence at some 30 auto shows around the U.S., and will coincide with the annual events. It will allow show attendees to test drive GM vehicles against those of competitors.
According to Steve Tihanyl, GM general director for marketing services, alliances, and branded entertainment, “What we are trying to do is leverage the period of the auto show to create this experience.” In fact, “One thing we know about auto shows is a lot of people who come will be in market in zero to 12 months.”
Keep reading after the jump!
Test Drive Studio
The Test Drive Studio is a new program that GM has been considering for some time. Beginning in four markets this spring, the studios are semi-permanent or permanent brick-and-mortar facilities with minimal branding.
“It’s a concept I discussed 10 years ago; now we are making it come to life,” says Tihanyl. The studios will showcase Chevrolet’s “heart of the market” products for “modern families” such as the Malibu, Traverse, and Equinox, along with competitors in respective segments.
The pilot studios will be located in Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Locations of subsequent studios will be based on ZIP code targets for Chevy products. As Chevrolet is still working out the location details, we know that they will be located in either industrial or high-traffic retail areas.
“It’s a non-threatening environment,” says Tihanyl. “It’s not pressure -filled; you can drive all the right competitive products against the [Chevys]. If you take Malibu as an example, we will also have vehicles like Camry, Accord, Ford Fusion, or Taurus, so you get a really good cluster of vehicles to experience at your own pace.”
In that regard, the goal seems to be a completely different experience than what a traditional dealership may offer, with salespeople not watching a customer’s every step. What’s more, the studio will not look like a dealership nor will it carry the Chevrolet brand.
Marketing The Studio
To market the studio, GM’s bow tie brand will invest in a broad digital advertising play and track shoppers.”So, hypothetically, if you are on Edmunds.com and shopping a Camry, we are going to offer up an opportunity to come to the Test Drive Studio in that market to compare everything you have in your shopping set right now. Our feeling is you may have not had the Malibu in your consideration set, but if you try it, you will,” said Tinahyl.
The GM Authority Take
It’s official: Chevy is on a roll! Between the upcoming Cruze, Volt and redesigned Malibu, to the sales success of its launch vehicles and the upcoming marketing initiatives, there’s no denying that – when it comes to Chevrolet – things are abrewin’.
More specifically, both the Test Drive Studio as well as the Auto Show test drive initiatives – are excellent ways to market and get people behind the wheel of Chevrolets. The current mind set within GM seems to be that if people experience Chevy vehicles, then they’ll add them to their shortlist of possible candidates.
The Test Drive Studio approach seems to be a very effective program that will save people time in the car buying/shopping process: not having to go to multiple dealers to test drive cars will be a huge time saver! All in all, we like the “put your product where your mouth is” mindset that takes GM’s “May The Best Car Win” program one step further. The only question now is, when will Buick, GMC, and Cadillac get the same type of treatment? Keep it up, Chevy![Source: Marketing Daily]