Here's another sign that Internet marketing is gaining momentum: GMC says it could drop TV commercials altogether to sell a small crossover that may join the lineup.
Instead, GMC is looking at viral marketing -- messages spread by e-mail and social networking sites to generate interest for products.
GMC is using YouTube, an Internet site for videos, to market its Terrain compact crossover, which launched in August. More on that later.
Steve Rosenblum, Buick-GMC's director of advertising and promotions, says GMC needs new types of advertising for young shoppers. This will help the brand sell crossovers and continue to reduce its reliance on brawny SUVs and pickups.
After launching the Acadia and Terrain crossovers, Rosenblum says he thinks the next step is the smaller, four-passenger Granite crossover concept introduced last week at the Detroit auto show.
If GMC produces the Granite or a similar vehicle, it would target a new audience -- people 35 or younger. That might mean no TV commercial or no use of GMC's well-regarded tag line "Professional Grade," Rosenblum says.
Instead, Rosenblum's team has developed a brochure with bar-code-type designs called quick response codes that smart phones can read. Phones scan the codes and point consumers to Web pages that give details on the Granite's features, offer opportunities for social networking and discuss designers' inspirations for the concept.