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Flybrian

Google, Saturn explore new ads

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Flybrian    0

Google, Saturn explore new ads

Search engine giant goes beyond text ads with help from new media.

Stuart Elliott / New York Times

Link to Original article @ DetNews Auto Insider

Just as Madison Avenue once helped convince consumers that orange juice is "not just for breakfast any more," Google is turning to Madison Avenue to help convince marketers that Google is not just for text advertisements in tiny type that appear adjacent to the results of searches on google.com.

Google is teaming up with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, an Omnicom Group agency known for offbeat creative work, on a project for one of the agency's largest clients, the Saturn division of General Motors.

The project began Friday with a test of a campaign for Saturn, bundling together several Google products and services like clickable video clips, the Google Earth satellite mapping tool and geographic finding of computer users.

Visitors to a variety of Web sites in six cities around the country that are home to 22 Saturn dealerships will see what look like typical banner ads for Aura, a new Saturn midsize sedan. Clicking on an ad will produce a view of the Earth that zooms in on the dealership nearest to the computer user.

The doors to the virtual dealership fly open, revealing the general manager, who introduces a brief commercial about Aura. After the spot ends, the general manager returns, standing next to an Aura and offering choices that include spinning the car 360 degrees, inspecting its engine, printing a map with directions to the dealership and visiting the Web sites of Saturn (saturn.com) or the dealer.

The project is intended to stimulate demand for Aura test-drives with a twist: the dealerships will deliver the cars to the homes of consumers. The theme of the project is "Take the 250,000-mile test drive."

The push for change

Sellers of online advertising are seeking to persuade mainstream marketers to devote more of their ad dollars to new media. That mission took on added resonance this week when a Google competitor, Yahoo, disclosed an unexpected softening of ad sales in two major categories, automotive and financial services.

Of course, some forays into the online media go more smoothly than others.

For instance, the Air Force this week decided to take down a profile it put up last month on MySpace, the social networking Web site (myspace.com), partly because of concerns about inappropriate content that could be linked to the profile. The decision was reported by AirForceTimes.com.

Col. Brian Madtes, strategic communications director for the Air Force recruiting service, said Thursday that the Air Force would probably continue to run banner ads on myspace.com but was unlikely to run profiles again. The profile was intended to generate interest among computer users ages 18 to 24 in new Air Force commercials created by GSD&M in Austin, Texas, also owned by Omnicom.

Creatively diversifying

Google is known for its expertise in what is called search engine marketing, epitomized by the text ads that appear next to results from online searches. Google sells the rights to present the ads onscreen when computer users type in keywords. Google now wants to call attention to its more elaborate types of online advertising, like click-to-play video, and encourage marketers like General Motors to buy those as well.

"We've been out there meeting with a lot of agencies and clients so they understand at a brand level, at a creative level, at a media planning level, how they can use the palette we have," said Tim Armstrong, vice president for advertising sales at Google in Mountain View, Calif.

Out of those meetings came the idea to "let the creative brains at Goodby look across our suite of products and services and think about ways those could work for specific clients," he added. In addition to General Motors, clients of Goodby, Silverstein include Anheuser-Busch, the California milk producers ("Got milk?"), Comcast, Emerald Nuts, Frito-Lay, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola.

Rich Silverstein, co-chairman at Goodby, Silverstein, said the decision was made to have Saturn take part in the test because the local nature of its dealerships meant the brand would be a good guinea pig for the geotargeting elements of the campaign.

"Google wants to prove it's an effective way to market," Silverstein said. "Saturn wants to sell Auras. And we want to show how we can tell good stories in a 21st century way.

"The world doesn't need another area to run a commercial; we've got plenty," Silverstein said. "I am so excited," Silverstein, who is usually not given to hyperbole, said of the project. "I feel 10 years younger."

Saturn takes test-drive

The 22 Saturn dealers involved in the test are in Buffalo; Dallas (Irving is a suburb); Harrisburg, Pa.; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; and Raleigh, N.C. The six markets were chosen because they, and the dealerships, are among the best performers for Saturn.

"We have a key focus on digital this year," said Dave Smidebush, marketing director at Saturn in Detroit, "and when Goodby approached us with this opportunity after Google approached them, we thought it was a very innovative initiative.

"Seventy percent of all new-car buyers go to the Web for information," he added, "and the Google Earth technology takes you right through the dealer's front door."

The test will run for a month, Smidebush said, and after that Saturn executives will evaluate "how it drives traffic and how it affects sales, and then we'll decide next steps from there."

One possibility would be to roll out the project to the 25 largest markets, Smidebush said, and another would be to introduce it nationally. The project may be used, he added, to help Saturn bring out another new model, Outlook, a midsized sport utility planned for 2007.

Details kept quiet

Saturn is paying Google for the test, but Saturn and Google executives would not discuss the budget.

Teams of employees from Goodby, Silverstein visited all 22 dealerships to obtain the video clips of the stores and the general managers.

"Some were ready for prime time," said Guy Seese, a creative director at Goodby, Silverstein. "Some nailed it in five takes."

"One poor guy kept us after hours and did it in 22 takes."

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Cadillacfan    0

Smart idea. The Saturn dealership just a few minutes away from me is the one that they tested it at in this area. Last year, it was the top dealership in the nation. This year, not so far but it's still in the top 5 from what I remember.

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Guest Josh   
Guest Josh

Book.

The latest news article I read (which I dont have time to read many now) on the launch of the Aura shows that GM dealers are going to deliver the vehicles right to the destination of the owners choice.

Interesting I must say. Whether u love him or loathe him....it seems as if they took a page out of Dollingers "Return To Greatness."

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Flybrian    0

1) I believe some dealerships do this on a dealership level. I know a Lincoln-Mercury dealer near me offers this.

2) GM-sponsored home delivery is part of a larger market test by Saturn and Google via Saturn's advertising agency. The entire article has already been posted and can be viewed below...

Google, Saturn Explore New Ads

As indicated, its not a new corporate mandate for all dealers to follow, only part of a test campaign.

3) I don't think its necessarily accurate to give Buickman 100% credit on this as various dealers have been doing this on an individual basis for awhile now. The L-M dealer I mentioned above has been doing this for about fifteen years now and Coastal Cadillac has been picking up and dropping off customers' vehicles at their home or work for servicing for at least several years.

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Mr.Krinkle    0

what a buzzkill. is it also true that buicvkmans bowel movements wmell like bakery fresh cinnamon buns?

i bet if i look hard enough ill be able to see the strings...barnum was right. i see it everyday.

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Drew Dowdell    5,169

The article mentioned delivering the car to a customer's house for a test drive, not delivery when purchasing.

197412[/snapback]

regardless, my Cadillac dealer offered to do both for me 3 years ago.

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Guest buickman   
Guest buickman

This is no more of a surprise than that crook Gerosa standing up in last week's Las Vegas dealer meeting and offering to buy dealerships on behalf of Joe Serra. Do you suppose there is a reason Serra Chevrolet was given the GMC, Saturn, Hummer, and recently Cadillac franchises, direct from GM?

Being in the same market one can see Serra always having more than ample stock, with the right incentivized packages, whenever GM announces their next big push.

There are Rats in the Glovebox at GM.

Buickman

the voice in the wilderness

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Satty    338

I had an effin Suzuki dealership offer to bring an Aerio to me at work so I could test drive it. Many dealerships offer this service, nothing new, nothing BM inspired.

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Guest Josh   
Guest Josh

I had an effin Suzuki dealership offer to bring an Aerio to me at work so I could test drive it.  Many dealerships offer this service, nothing new, nothing BM inspired.

197421[/snapback]

Around here. It's something very new and not advertised at all.

The fact that Dollinger met with Levine, offered to purchase the rights (correct me if I'm wrong, Jim) and suddenly change his mind says something.

They are implementing his ideas. Whether it be one dealership that did it on your town or not.

GM has a direct impact on the Saturn dealerships. This says something in my book.

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Mr.Krinkle    0

correct me if im wrong, but i recall not too long ago gm decided to cut its advertising budget and decided to allot much of what was left to pay for

saturns launch vehicles.

unregardless, the commercials and the "viral" campaign thing of late have been outstanding, in my opinion. The cadillac ads, and the chevy ads touting the mpg with the cobalt and the impala at the gas station... the hummer ads are kind of weak minus the ones with the magician. those are just so bad i have to laugh a little... its brave new world out their and traditional methods jsut dont cut it any longer. i guess they are spending their money a little more wisely now.

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dfelt    1,872
8) Last Spring while I was in Copenhagen for a tradeshow, I had bought for my wife a CTS and the dealership delivered it to her work. They pick it up and service it and return it. The Caddy Dealerships or more specifically, SandBurg Caddilac in North Seattle on Highway 99 does this as normal service and have always done this to take care of their customers. Another reason I stick with GM :D

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