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[miami] Pontiac will spend about $70 million to advertise the redesigned Grand Am this year, the largest ad budget ever for a Pontiac car.

Brand Manager Jim Bunnell said that was a doubling of last year's budget.

Until recently, national agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., had been working on Grand Am creative simultaneously with Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, named for creative consulting in 1996. But Pontiac gave the nod to DMB&B, perhaps because Ammirati was assigned GM's GMC account in December.


The new Grand Am advertising breaks nationally in the spring, with Mr. Bunnell adding that the campaign will break new ground for Grand Am by targeting Hispanics -- 10% of the ad budget will be aimed at the segment.

"The imports, particularly Toyota and Honda, have a good job" marketing to Hispanics, Mr. Bunnell said. "But we have not made a conscious effort toward that market."

Hispanics make up about 5% of Grand Am's buyers; Pontiac is aiming for 10% in five years. Ads will focus on large Hispanic markets where Grand Am sales are weak, including California, the Northeast and Florida.

Ms. Jackson is a staff reporter at Automotive News. Contributing: Jean Halliday.

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