Escalade got game

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Cadillac is reaching out to younger buyers by going, technologically, to where their prospective market is for the 2002 Escalade sport utility. General Motors Corp.'s luxury brand has started mailing out the first wave of 500,000 DVD-ROM games to prospects. The game offers a chance to win an SUV while touting the features of the 2002 Escalade.

Recipients, who began to receive the game in mid-May are hand-raisers from auto shows, catalogs and ride-and-drive programs, plus people from purchased lists of consumers with DVD-enabled computers. But the vast majority came from, which started promoting the game in early May, said Paul Edwards, advertising manager at Cadillac. According to Jupiter Media Metrix, the site received less than 200,000 visitors during each of the first four months of the year.

The game shows how young, and high-end, Cadillac wants to go in promoting the Escalade, which it is aiming at the 35-50 bracket. According to Mr. Edwards, several insiders wondered whether a CD-ROM would hit a wider target. But an online survey at revealed more than 60% percent of the SUV's target had DVD access and liked gaming. "The proof was in the data. We are a luxury brand and we wanted to produce the best product there is," he explained.

Cadillac's average owner is 63 years old, although Escalade's is 51 years old. Escalade bowed in a 1999 Super Bowl commercial as the nameplate's first truck.

Each DVD has a registration number, which must be entered by gamers who want to try to win the SUV, a MotorCraft boat or Indian Chief motorcycle. To enter, gamers must submit first-time scores and provide some personal data. Participants can check their standings on and hand off the DVD to a friend.

"We're already getting duplicate registration numbers," said Dave Fiore, director of interactive media at Bcom3 Group's Clarion Marketing & Communications Group, Greenwich, Conn. He said gamers have even started passing along tips about the "Escalade Power Play" in chat rooms on other Web sites. The average game time is more than an hour, much longer than the 25 minutes than Mr. Fiore had originally projected.

Clarion worked closely with its sibling, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., which is also Cadillac's ad agency. Cinematographer Dean Cundey of "Jurassic Park" and "Back to the Future" fame developed the look of the DVD with Edgeworx. The New York production house created the 3-D, computer-generated game locations on which the SUV travels.

Cadillac seems to be on the right track to woo younger buyers, according to research from consultancy CNW Marketing/Research. The intention to buy the Escalade has risen every month for the last 18 months, said Art Spinella, a VP at CNW. And the average age of those intenders, 42, is much younger than 56 years old for Ford Motor Co.'s comparable Lincoln Navigator.

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