GM PUTS REGIONAL AD REVAMP TO WORK ON 'CLEARANCE SALES': BRAND AGENCIES HANDLE OFFERS ON MODEL CLOSEOUTS

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After lagging this year's hot auto-sales market, General Motors Corp. is rolling out divisional retail ad campaigns that it hopes will show off the strengths of its controversial regional-marketing reorganization.

Running through Sept. 30, the campaigns feature several all-new TV and radio spots, as well as newspaper ads, along with existing TV spots tagged with sales-incentive messages. Incentives will vary for different regions and models, but no-interest financing will be the centerpiece.

MESSAGE CONSISTENCY

GM officials said the earlier move to consolidate ad decisions into five regions and use its national ad agencies will ensure consistent messages. Media buying, too, should now be more efficient, they said.

"This will be a good test case for how this is all working as we see the results over the next couple months," said John Middlebrook, GM VP-general manager, vehicle brand marketing.

"We've got a very consistent message now, all the way through the funnel,' he added.

GM's spending is "aggressive" but can't be compared to last year's, when a United Auto Workers union strike nearly stalled sales, Mr. Middlebrook said.

Most divisions' creative has been given to dealers and regional marketing organizations and will begin appearing shortly.

CADILLAC TEST DRIVES, LEASES

Cadillac will release its "Put Cadillac to the test" TV spots this week, featuring new creative for each of its models.

Agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., last week said production was wrapping up on spots that would push test drives and highlight lease deals.

"Basically, this activity is taking all the brand dollars for the period," said a D'Arcy spokesman.

GMC's new TV spots use a "Summer convoy" theme, showing a convoy of trucks, then cutting to individual models and incentives in separate spots, said Gwen Smith, GMC field advertising manager.

Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, is the agency.

GMC is running Spanish-language spots for the first time, Ms. Smith said, via Castor Advertising, New York.

D'Arcy also created brand-specific spots for Pontiac's "Hit the road" campaign, using the existing "Driving questions" theme in which actors ask whimsical questions about each model's selling points.

Pete Maguire, Pontiac field advertising manager, said the summer sales campaign is "the first major event since the GM field reorganization." It will show GM's ability to develop "integrated regional campaigns that leverage our national brand positioning."

OLDS AVOIDS SUMMER FRENZY

Oldsmobile's "Smart choice" theme represents a deliberate move away from the frenzied tone of many summer sales ads, said Pete Langenhorst, the Silhouette brand manager who is running the campaign.

"We found that consumers don't really like all the barrage of stuff that just says, 'We're on sale'," he said.

Oldsmobile has three new TV spots from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

Larry Peck, field advertising manager for Buick, said that division's new TV spots for its "Zero in on Buick" stress 0% financing. The agency is McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Troy, Mich.

Chevrolet will offer one new spot, from Campbell-Ewald, Warren, in its "Summer

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