All-American Carmaker Has Its Eye on Europe

Chevy Has Seen Uptick in Sales on Continent, Plans to Unleash $60 Million Push

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General Motors Corp. is out to conquer Europe.

Even though the marketer sold only 328,270 Chevrolets in Europe, compared with 1.7 million in the U.S. through September, the total was up a brisk 31%, giving GM high hopes for the market. Wayne Brannon, executive director of Chevrolet Europe, said GM this year expects to "significantly top" the 340,000 units sold on the continent last year, even though awareness for the brand's European product lineup is relatively low. "Chevrolet is still a young brand in Europe," he said.
Wayne Brannon, executive director of Chevrolet Europe
Wayne Brannon, executive director of Chevrolet Europe

To jump-start that growth, Chevrolet tapped StrawberryFrog, Amsterdam, Netherlands, last week to handle the estimated $60 million pan-European launch of the Chevrolet Aveo subcompact next spring. The independent agency pitched against Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett.

StrawberryFrog first hopped onto GM's roster in July, when it bested Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson and Havas' Australie for the estimated $120-million international account for Opel/Vauxhall's Agila small-sedan launch next spring.

Like Spielberg
Scott Goodson, founder and CEO of the agency, said the shop's setup is what makes it successful. "We work the way Steven Spielberg does," he said, with a core full-team of multidisciplinary experts who develop a media-neutral, big brand idea and hire temporary staff as needed.

StrawberryFrog's first client nine years ago was Smart cars, then a venture owned by Germany's Daimler and Swatch. The agency later won Daimler-Mitsubishi's venture in 42 countries; that ended about a year ago when the automakers untied their partnership.

In the meantime, Chevrolet has kicked off what it called its largest pan-European promotional campaign, a game dubbed "Dream Garage," via an undisclosed agency. Consumers in 11 countries can play the game online or offline, collecting game cards from major print titles, including major daily newspapers and free commuter papers. Chevrolet promotion teams hand out cards at high-traffic shopping centers on weekends. The cards also are available at dealers and vehicle displays.

Dream Garage
Players pick their three favorite Chevrolet models and park them in the Chevrolet Dream Garage. The winner gets all three of those cars. In total, the marketer will give away more than 50 vehicles, as second- and third-prize winners in each country will get a single car.

Details of how the winner is selected weren't available; neither Chevrolet of Europe nor a GM spokesman in Detroit who handles European matters returned calls or e-mails by press time.

Chevrolet also is giving away 170,000 limited-edition compilation CDs of songs featuring the brand as part of the program, which will end just before the holidays.
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