General Motor Corp.'s new credit card campaign-its biggest since the $70 million launch in 1992-will combat competitors' reward messages by emphasizing the GM Card's benefit of discounts on new cars and trucks.
The estimated $30 million effort from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Troy, Mich., breaks today and includes TV, print and direct mail.
"We must say to consumers .*.*. the GM Card is a better value and we have something that is important to consumers-a car or truck," said Bill Anderson, director of U.S. Consumer Marketing, GM Card Operations.
With every use of the GM Card, consumers accrue 5% of the amount spent toward purchase or lease of a new car or truck.
Before, like most credit cards, GM focused more heavily on no annual fee and a low interest rate, but those days are gone.
"We are not trying to win the war of who has the best credit card because nobody is going to win that," Mr. Anderson said. "What we want to do is separate ourselves by the things that truly make us different."
Several cards are trying to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Visa USA has been touting its Visa Rewards program, which offers retail discounts and savings on travel to big-spending cardholders. American Express Co.'s Optima True Grace card gives a 28-day grace period on payments.
And at the end of April, Citibank broke a $60 million campaign, via Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, touting the security features of its MasterCard and Visa (AA, April 24). The campaign, tagged "Got your Citibank Card?" talks about special services like buyer protection.
There are even other co-branded cards on the market like Ford Motor Co.'s Citibank Visa card that offer rewards similar to GM's and the AT&T Universal Card, which offers 10% discounts on long-distance calls.
Since its introduction, GM has acquired 12 million card carriers, and to date, more than 450,000 cardmembers have redeemed GM card earnings. Mr. Anderson said the card will exceed $20 billion in sales this year.
The new campaign features clever wordplay using names of GM vehicles. One 30-second spot says, "If you're going to buy the blouse, don't forget the Blazer." A print ad reads, "If your destination is Cannes, don't forget the Riviera." The commercials end with "Don't forget your GM MasterCard, today's financial vehicle."
GM also plans a direct marketing effort, plus a sweepstakes aimed at current cardholders. The sweepstakes will give cardmembers who use their card between May 15 and July 31 an opportunity to win one of three different GM vehicles, a Cadillac Seville, Pontiac Grand Prix or GMC Jimmy.