GMC wants to use its TV sponsorship of the National Football League to boost brand awareness. The truck brand also seeks to emerge from the shadow of its big brother, Chevrolet.
"GMC is the best-kept secret at General Motors," says Steve Rosenblum, GMC's director of marketing. "I'd like to get rid of that secret. We decided to utilize the NFL to really push our presence in the marketplace."
GM is introducing redesigned versions of its full-sized SUVs and pickups in 2006. The high-profit trucks are vital to the company's turnaround, industry analysts say.
GMC seeks to reach male truck buyers through a marketing affiliation with the NFL. The company cut a deal with the NFL during the summer to become the league's official vehicle brand.
This season, Rosenblum says, GMC is advertising on ABC's "Monday Night Football" and ESPN's "Sunday Night Football." The promotion includes product placements, Internet sweepstakes and print advertisements.
A recent musical opening on "Monday Night Football," for example, featured GMC's badge and vehicles. The video included footage of robots assembling GMC trucks at GM's Flint, Mich., assembly plant.
A scene in the montage showed a GMC Sierra hurtling over the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Another shot depicted fans riding in Sierras decorated with NFL team logos.
GMC runs a 30-second commercial before the kickoff of each Monday night game. A 90-second spot during the game compares the achievements of NFL legends to the "professional grade" performance of GMC trucks.
GMC conducts dealer meetings in cities where Monday night games are played. The meetings feature Boomer Esiason, a former NFL quarterback and now a broadcaster.
The company also is sponsoring a contest during "Sunday Night Football" broadcasts on ESPN.
The cable network picks an NFL player as "Sunday Stud" from each week's schedule of games. Visitors to gmcsundaystud.com can enter a contest to predict which player will be chosen.
Contestants compete for a 2007 Yukon and a trip to the Super Bowl in Detroit on Feb. 5. The pre-game show will feature the sweepstakes
finale. GMC is promoting the contest in ESPN commercials.
GMC runs 30- and 90-second spots during ESPN's Sunday night games, mostly in the fourth quarter. GMC's Rosenblum says those commercials are among the best-remembered by consumers of any ads it runs.
GMC would not say what it spends on its NFL-related marketing. The company spent $153.5 million to advertise in all U.S. media in the first half of 2005, TNS Media Intelligence reports. That was a 44.9 percent increase over the year-ago period.