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USING MARKETING TO CALM AIRBAG FEARS: AUTO INDUSTRY OFFERS SAFETY TIPS ABOUT KIDS IN CARS

By Published on .

Virtually every automaker in the U.S. is either planning or has started some sort of notification program to car owners addressing air bag safety.

Several are going beyond the direct mail route, with other advertising and educational programs.

VOLVO TO REVIVE TV AD

By mid-December, Volvo Cars of North America will bring back a TV commercial it first ran before Labor Day encouraging parents to put their children in the back seats of their vehicles.

The spot, from Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/

Euro RSCG, New York, shows a youngster blowing bubbles in a child seat located in the rear seat of a Volvo 850. Narrator Donald Sutherland says: "The safest place for children is in the back seat of the car, any car."

Volvo will spend $4 million on the TV flight, which will probably run well into January.

General Motors Corp. will contribute $10 million to the National Safe Kids Campaign over the next five years, and some of that money will go toward public service announcements, said Steve O'Toole, GM's senior Washington representative. Details haven't been finalized.

GM also will send letters and air bag warning stickers to 7 million of its vehicle owners, Mr. O'Toole said.

$4.3 MIL TO SAFETY EFFORT

In addition, GM will contribute $4.3 million to the Air Bag Safety Campaign, formed by a coalition of corporations.

The coalition is expected to spend $10 million on radio ads about air bag safety in about 50 major markets. Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns & Associates, Washington, picked as the coalition's agency in August, is handling the so-called "ABC's of air bag safety" campaign.

Chrysler Corp., which donated a reported $430,000 to the coalition, started its own mail campaign on air bag safety two weeks ago, but is also expected to initiate an air bag safety program with elementary schools.

TIPS FROM JIFFY LUBE

Coalition member Jiffy Lube International plans a direct mailing next April to some 10 million to 15 million customers with air bag safety tips. The franchiser's creative staff will create an air bag safety tag for its radio spots, said Bill McStay, senior VP-marketing and communications.

That effort also is expected to start in April.

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