GM'S NEW GOODWRENCH ADS SEEK TRUST IN DEALER SERVICE: CREATIVE STRESSES THAT CUSTOMERS CONTROL PROCESS OF AUTO REPAIRS

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General Motors Corp. wants to relieve consumers' anxiety about taking their vehicles into dealerships for Goodwrench Service Plus repairs or maintenance.

New TV and radio commercials will try to build an emotional trust for the brand, said Kelly O'Neill, advertising manager of GM's Service Parts Operations.

The ads, from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., tout dealers' care of customers and consumers' control of the experience.

This is the first new advertising for Goodwrench in two years, and breaks June 21.

FEAR OF CAR REPAIRS

Consumer research revealed car owners fear taking their cars in for service, Ms. O'Neill said.

"That's true across the whole category -- not just dealers but also national [repair] chains and local garages," she said.

In April, J.D. Power & Associates said its research shows consumers who take their vehicles to non-dealer service shops have greater satisfaction levels than those who go to dealerships. Power said many dealers give marginal service during the warranty period.

GM also will launch its first national service pricing in September with TV and radio ads, she said. Those ads, also from DMB&B, will complement the Goodwrench campaign.

GM will advertise an oil change and lube for $19.99 or less; tire rotation and balance for $29.99 or less; and replacement of front or rear brake pads or shoes for $99.99 or less.

Participating GM dealers will market the prices locally via direct mail and newspaper ads.

GM now has 2,553 participating Service Plus dealerships, with 2,628 additional dealerships in the process of enrollment. GM had 8,118 dealerships as of Jan. 1.

WHAT DEALERS MUST PROVIDE

Dealerships enrolled in Service Plus must honor lifetime service warranties, provide courtesy transportation, post pricing, offer every new owner a free oil change and conduct owner clinics every 90 days to teach vehicle maintenance.

GM launched Service Plus in 1997 with ads that were less emotional than the new creative, focusing on tangible offers such as lifetime service guarantees and quality parts.

GM spent nearly $38 million on Goodwrench ads last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

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