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PONTIAC CONTINUES TV VEHICLE GIVEAWAYS

$1 Million Worth of Sports Vans to Be Handed Out on 'Regis and Kelly'

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Following the stunning publicity success of its giveaway on the Oprah, General Motors Corp.'s Pontiac division is giving away sport vans next month on Live with Regis and Kelly.
Regis and Kelly with the the product-placement Pontiac van they will feature of their show.
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The morning talk show will give away more than $1 million worth of its new Montana SV6 sport vans and other prizes to viewers who enter a trivia contest for Live, which is syndicated by Walt Disney Co.'s Buena Vista Television.

A nontraditional way
"We can't depend on traditional advertising to break through when trying to sell a vehicle," said Mary Kubitskey, advertising manager for Pontiac. "We have to find a nontraditional way."

Pontiac had always planned to run ads for the SV6 during Live because the show's demographic -- which Ms. Kubistkey described as "aspirational women" -- is a natural target for the SV6. The vehicle retails in the mid-$20,000 range.

But Pontiac also wanted to explore nontraditional marketing tactics. And the hype around the G6 giveaway on Oprah Winfrey's program showed that such a promotion could be "fertile ground," Ms. Kubitskey said.

Agency brokers deal
GM Planworks, Detroit, part of Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group, put Pontiac in touch with Buena Vista. The two parties worked out the deal. Terms weren't disclosed.

Pontiac will run ads for the SV6 during broadcasts of Live. Publicis' Chemistri, Troy, Mich., is the ad agency on the account.

The contest kicks off Jan. 17 and cars will be awarded starting Feb. 1. Entrants will be asked questions about a previous show. If they're right they win a vehicle. They also have the opportunity to win add-ons, such as the XM Satellite Radio service. They can even win an additional car for the SV6.

Relying on the hosts
Besides the excitement around the contest, Ms. Kubitskey said the hosts are natural salespeople. A mother of three, co-host Kelly Ripa can point to the vehicle's functional benefits. Regis Philbin can tout gadgets such as a DVD video system.

The promo has more facets to it than a traditional media buy. "We get a few minutes every day in February," Ms. Kubitskey said.

The "Extreme Van-A-Day Giveaway" replaces Live's "Travel Trivia" segment. The contest fits in with the show's character, said Jennie Born, vice president of national promotions for Buena Vista.

"We have a mechanism in place in the show where we're acknowledging our viewers," she said. "We hope it's going to drive viewership in a key rating period in addition [to awarding] our loyal viewers."

"We're looking for creative ways to engage our viewers," she said, and "certainly our advertisers are a key component of how we bring that to life."

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