OLDS MOVES INTO MARCH PROMO: 1.9% FINANCING TOUTED IN TV, RADIO, PRINT, NET EFFORT

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General Motors Corp.'s Oldsmobile division next week launches a multimedia promotion for all its vehicles. The so-called "Discover Days" campaign will offer 1.9% financing for 36 months on all Oldsmobile cars and trucks bought through March 31.

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Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, created five 30-second spots, the first of which breaks Feb. 23 on NBC's "Caroline in the City." The spot touts endorsements of Oldsmobile products by third parties.

The big push occurs during the National Collegiate Athlete Association's men's basketball tournament on CBS' TV and radio networks. Oldsmobile is a sponsor of the tournament.

The media buy for the promotion also includes Web banners -- on Yahoo! and InfoSeek Corp., and newspapers ads.

"We have to get 1998 off to a fast start," said Mike Sands, advertising manager at Oldsmobile.

Sales last month were about 9% higher than January 1997, and the third straight month of year-to-year jumps.

Mr. Sands said the promotion is a good way to get consumers who previously didn't consider Oldsmobile into its dealerships.

"Oldsmobile is doing well and it wants to make sure it continues doing well," said James Hall, VP-industry analysis of consultancy AutoPacific.

The bulk of the brand's vehicles are in the most competitive segment, midsize cars, which has generally experienced soft sales.

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