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CHEVY'S WORKING VACATION FAMILIES WILL HIT THE ROAD TO PROMOTE REDESIGNED LUMINA

By Published on .

Seventy families are going to see the USA in some new Chevrolets in a product sampling program that will also ride high on public relations.

Each family will get a redesigned Lumina sedan for a one-week "Discover America Tour" that will involve visits to traditional vacation spots such as national parks, baseball fields, museums and amusement parks. Chevy will provide each family with $1,200 in credits on a GM MasterCard, and a video camcorder to tape their journey.

"We're looking for real-world exposure on the product," said Steve McAvoy, marketing manager-passenger cars for General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet division.

"We have a brand new vehicle in the largest segment of the market. We need to get the word out, not only through paid media but any other way we can," Mr. McAvoy said.

A broad-based media campaign from Lintas Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., will start in late summer for the Lumina, which will compete with top sellers like the Ford Taurus and Honda Accord.

Mr. McAvoy said Chevy "hasn't made the call" on whether to include video footage in a Lumina ad campaign. But the three families who submit the best videos will earn a vacation at a Marriott property.

Earlier, Chevrolet had planned to give camcorders to 100 households that took part in a 10-city test drive of the Lumina and Monte Carlo coupe, a program designed to generate visibility and get early feedback on the models (AA, May 16). However, Chevy decided to give those families still cameras and use camcorders in the vacation program instead, Mr. McAvoy said.

For the "Discover America Tour," families will leave from 14 cities on Aug. 13, with Chevy hoping to generate publicity in each market. Each family will drive at least 1,000 miles going to two destinations selected from a list of sites suggested by Chevy.

One family from each of the 14 regions will visit a national park and present a contribution of $2,000 from Chevrolet to the National Park Foundation for an education program.

Chevy will also leverage GM's involvement as a sponsor of Major League Baseball. Families who visit a ballpark will be recognized by announcements about their involvement with the Lumina program.

Participants will be drawn from lists of Chevrolet owners and Lumina competitors. Some will be chosen from Good Housekeeping's New Traditionalists Panel.

Creative Marketing International, Chicago, is handling the Chevy promotion.

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