Giant Claw Game Puts Chevy Sonic Within Consumers' Grasp

Execution Displays Evolution of Outdoor Advertising from Billboards to 3-D

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We've all played the classic claw arcade game, wasting countless quarters trying to lift plush toys that slip out of that metal grip. But what if you were able to use one to get real prizes -- like a snowboard, a vacation or even a car?

That's the idea behind a first-of -its kind outdoor promotion by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Pearl Media for the 2012 Chevy Sonic. Chevrolet took over a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard last week, creating a huge, 3-D version of the game in front of the legendary Roosevelt Hotel. Passersby lined up for a chance to use a human-sized joystick that directed the claw -- projected onto the side of a building -- to pick up an array of prizes that included a $4,000 vacation, a Burton snowboard and a new Sonic.

"With Pearl's innovative approach to experiential advertising and Sonic's willingness to try 'firsts,' we at Chevy wanted to take the partnership into groundbreaking territory. So we added the real-time experiential claw-game piece," said Kevin Mayer, Chevrolet's director-advertising and sales promotion. "Sonic is up for any challenge, and Pearl's Claw Game pushed the Sonic into a new gaming realm that combined old-school fun with cutting-edge technology" to connect the car with consumers, he added.

The Chevy brand has been big on leveraging outdoor stunts. It recently created a social-media powered bungee jump to promote the Sonic.

General Motors is part of a growing trend. Josh Cohen, president-CEO of Pearl Media, said he has seen a spike in requests from marketers for work on oversize 3-D and outdoor executions.

"This year, Pearl Media has executed six 3-D projections, three of them this month, so demand is definitely growing," Mr. Cohen said. "In advertising there's a constant wave of wanting something new, something different, something bigger and better."

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