PEOPLE: PLAYER PROFILE: WEITZMAN BRINGS RETAIL EXPERTISE TO CHEVY POST: ON AGENDA IS TAKING A MORE GRASS-ROOTS TACK WITH SKATING SPONSORSHIPS

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Sherrie Weitzman has already set two goals for herself as the new advertising manager for half the cars brands in General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet Motor Division.

Among her duties is serving as liaison for all Chevy car and truck brands involved in the division's sponsorships of the U.S. Figure Skating Association, U.S. Youth Soccer Association and motor sports. And Ms. Weitzman, a 17-year ad industry veteran who came to Chevy from W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., where she had extensive retail account experience, hopes to take the figure-skating involvement to a more grass-roots level.

EVENTS TIED TO DEALERS

She wants the skating involvement to more closely resemble Chevy's sponsorship of youth soccer, with local events and tie-ins to Chevy dealers.

"With soccer, we get involved at the grass-roots level; there's a lot of dealer involvement and no media," Ms. Weitzman said. "The reverse is true of skating -- it's more media driven," she said, citing the Nov. 16 broadcast of "Skate America" on ABC and the upcoming skating broadcast of "Todd & Friends" on Dec. 15 on ESPN.

Her second goal is to work with other U.S. figure skating sponsors "to get more bang for our buck."

The former Doner VP-account supervisor's direct brand responsibilities at Chevy are the Corvette, Camaro, Lumina and Monte Carlo brands. And she will handle the launch of a new model car, which she declined to reveal but is believed to be a revamped Impala.

She works with Chevy brand managers and the brand team at national agency Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., on positioning and ad strategy, research, creative, promotions, Internet, catalogs and direct marketing. Ms. Weitzman reports to Jim Jandasek, national manager of car advertising, and also a GM outsider; he came from Chrysler Corp. in 1991.

'DIVERSE' EXPERIENCES

"Sherrie brings a very diverse set of marketing and advertising experiences to bear on the communications challenges at Chevrolet," Mr. Jandasek said.

Ms. Weitzman has been in metro Detroit her entire ad career. She started in 1981 as a media buyer/marketing planner at Ross Roy Communications. She joined D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in 1983, rising to account supervisor. She returned to Ross Roy in 1987 as a senior account exec on Kmart Corp.; was VP-account supervisor from 1989 to '91 at Berline Group, working on Michigan National Bank; and from 1992 to '95 was marketing services director at Lionel Trains.

Mr. Weitzman then joined Doner, where she worked mostly with retailer Hills' Department Stores in Boston during her two-year stint.

SIMILARITIES TO RETAIL

In retail, Ms. Weitzman said, she didn't have as much time, resources or money as Chevrolet to put behind marketing. "But the basic process and end product are not all that different," she added.

"You have to make sure the advertising is on strategy and speaking to [target consumers]. There isn't anything I'm working on now that I haven't done in a

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