If you are selling a minivan equipped with a video monitor, a marketing tie-in with Blockbuster Video would be a no-brainer.
Oldsmobile thought so, and it is beginning to see some results.
This fall, consumers who test-drove the Silhouette Premiere were given $50 gift certificates, good for movie rentals at Blockbuster outlets.
That - along with a direct mail campaign and dealer coupon giveaways - generated nearly 10,000 test drives from September through Thanksgiving. Oldsmobile has sold 1,500 Premiere minivans since it went on sale in October.
That puts Oldsmobile on track to hit its calendar year 1999 sales target of 9,000 Premiere vans, about 20 percent of all Silhouette sales, said Pete Langenhorst, the Premiere's brand manager.
'It's one of our hot products,' Langenhorst said. 'Dealers say they can't get enough of them.'
PLEASING THE KIDS
Equipped with a factory-installed video monitor, compact disc player, headphone jacks and an input jack for video games, the Premiere carries a sticker price of $31,580, including the destination charge. The Silhouette starts at $25,370, including the destination charge.
Oldsmobile's mobile entertainment center is designed for families that want to keep the kids happy during long vacation trips.
The Premiere's marketing campaign marks the auto industry's increasing reliance on a mix of traditional and new-wave marketing techniques. To cut through the clutter of competing ads, Oldsmo-bile arranged a variety of cross-media tie-ins:
A direct-mail campaign targeted 1 million consumers. Recipients received $50 Blockbuster gift certificates for test-driving a Premiere.
Print ads listed a toll-free number for consumers. Those who requested more information about the Premiere received $25 gift certificates at Blockbuster.
Blockbuster stores displayed point-of-sale information about the Premiere.
Movie theaters' in-house advertising featured the Premiere.
National commercials for the Premiere used Turner movie clips such as The Wizard of Oz and National Velvet.
To hammer the campaign home, Oldsmobile gave dealers red theater ropes to cordon off areas of their stores to showcase the Premiere.
Langenhorst says he is pleased with the campaign, but Oldsmobile faces competition from two sister brands. This spring, Chevrolet and Pontiac will introduce their own multimedia versions of the Venture and Montana minivans.
Oldsmobile will target upscale families with older kids - customers willing to pay for leather seats and other amenities.
Chevrolet will target the Venture minivan at less affluent households with younger kids.
Despite the competition, Lang-enhorst insists that the other two divisions will not cannibalize Oldsmobile's sales.
'Sure, you'd want to have it for your own division,' Langenhorst said. 'The idea was born here, and we got exclusivity for Oldsmobile (for six months). But Chevy has a different strategy. They will not be able to equip a Venture the same way as a Silhouette Premiere.'