'Apprentice' Task Turns Creation of Commercials into Popular Entertainment

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DETROIT ( -- General Motors Corp.’s Chevrolet is following up last night’s appearance on NBC’s “The Apprentice” with a Web contest inviting consumers to create their own spots for Chevy Tahoe.
Joining the new trend of consumer-created advertising, GM is asking viewers to make and submit a 30-second spot for its Tahoe truck.

Visitors to can win trips and cash for creating the winning 30-second online spot for the Tahoe. Those participating can add their own copy and add it to a variety of video clips and sound tracks on the site through April 10.

GM's best-selling brand
GM’s best-selling brand said it will evaluate the submissions based on how well they communicate Tahoe’s brand promise of “more capable, more responsible and more refined.”

During last night’s TV program, contestants had to create an entertaining, three-hour training event for 25 Chevrolet dealers for the 2007 Tahoe.

Sibling Pontiac also had a branded entertainment deal with “The Apprentice” in 2005. Pontiac asked the show's contestant teams to design a product brochure for its new Solstice roadster. Pontiac then advertised a limited pre-sale of the first 1,000 models at the end of the show and was pleased with the results.

Brisk sales
Chevrolet’s new Tahoe is selling briskly. GM said it sold 6,391 of the 2007-model SUVs last month, double what it sold in January. The automaker, which is trying to return to profitability, said combined 2006 and 2007 Tahoe sales in the first two months of 2006 jumped by 47% to 28,524 units from the same period a year ago.

Chevrolet spent $13.8 million in measured media for the Tahoe in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence. But the advertiser is expected to increase Tahoe spending significantly this year for the new model. The SUV was launched with a glitzy on-site and TV effort on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., is the brand's ad agency.

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