General Motors is recruiting many of America's best known radio personalities - including Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Schlessinger and Whoopi Goldberg - to talk up its vehicles on the air.
GM says it doesn't pay the stars directly for their endorsements, although it advertises on their shows. It gives them new GM cars and trucks to drive for two weeks each month. The company also invites the celebrities to Detroit for private meetings with top executives and VIP tours of GM facilities.
The attention is paying off. One day last month, for example, Limbaugh - who has the largest audience in talk radio - told his listeners that "GM cars and trucks have never been better.
"GM has a ton of momentum," Limbaugh enthused. "They are working hard and they are thinking smart. Believe in General Motors, folks. They're a classic American company doing it all."
A Dallas disc jockey named Atom Smasher told his listeners, "I am driving around in this Cadillac and I am not going to want to give it back - the Cadillac SRX. Named best luxury SUV three years in a row. And do they look good blinged-out. To all of the guys at GM: Good job."
Said another Dallas deejay, Chris Ryan: "Have you seen all the cool things that's going on at GM? I have. If you're thinking about a new car, you got to look to GM."
Sam Mancuso, GM's director of brand marketing alliances and operations, says the company initiated contacts this spring with 17 national radio hosts, as well as dozens of local personalities in cities such as Dallas and Los Angeles.
Mancuso says he and Betsy Lazar, GM executive director of advertising and media operations, have done much of the wooing.