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GM PLANS MINORITY AD PUSH FOR '97: OLDS REVIEW WILL MAKE IT THE FIRST UNIT WITH AOR FOR ETHNIC WORK

By Published on .

General Motors Corp., hoping to improve market share among minority consumers, plans an aggressive push in the next year.

One of the first manifestations of that effort is an agency review started by its Oldsmobile division. Using an unnamed African-American consultant, Olds last month invited eight agencies to pitch an estimated $5 million account.

WHAT ACCOUNT INVOLVES

The account initially involves strategic planning for marketing to Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and women.

Although other GM divisions have worked with ethnic shops on a project basis, Olds will be the first with an agency of record.

"We need to get our diversity marketing greatly accelerated," said Gus Buenz, public relations director at Olds.

The agency list will be cut to three after Jan. 1, with a final decision coming later in the first quarter. Olds wants to attract import intenders, including minorities, with three new products it's launching next year.

Mr. Buenz declined to identify the shops, but several agencies that have done minority work for GM are believed to be among them. One likely contender is the Wimbley Group, Rolling Meadows, Ill., which has done some African-American work for GMC. Another probable contender is Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, a former Ford agency.

FLA. HISPANIC ACCOUNT

About a month ago, GM tapped Miami's Accent Marketing for its new Florida Hispanic account covering all its divisions. Interpublic Group of Cos. has a less-than-50% stake in the shop.

According to Polk Co., GM*ranked first in new, first-time car registrations through October, but only 4.1% were Hispanic, vs. Ford's 4.8% and Chrysler's 4.7%. Toyota and Honda, which registered fewer cars than GM, had higher Hispanic shares-7.3% and 7.1%.

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