GM Uses Mail, Sweepstakes to Drive Avalanche Sales

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General Motors Corp. is targeting Minnesota residents with a direct mail and sweepstakes cross-promotion to encourage test drives of the new Chevrolet Avalanche pickup trucks.

Called "Drive to Ride," the register-to-win effort is being run through April 30 in conjunction with snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle maker Arctic Cat Inc., Thief River Falls, MN.

"The hopes are that consumers purchase this type of truck for utility purposes," said Robert Tuchman, president of GM agency TSE Sports & Entertainment Inc., New York. "Arctic Cat ATVs would fit nicely in the back of the Avalanche truck to transport it."

Priced upward of $34,700 for 4x4 models, the Avalanche can quickly be converted from a six-passenger sport utility vehicle to a full-size three-passenger pickup.

Mailers were sent to 25,000 Minnesota residents from an Arctic Cat database of people who have visited dealerships. Consumers were asked to visit a participating Chevy dealer in Minnesota and nearby Wisconsin to test drive an Avalanche.

Consumers who test drive the truck get a $50 voucher in Arctic Cat Cash. It can be redeemed at participating Arctic Cat retailers in Minnesota for merchandise or toward the purchase of an ATV.

Primarily a snowmobile maker, Arctic Cat entered the ATV market more than three years ago. ATVs now account for nearly 33 percent of company sales and snowmobiles half.

If a consumer buys an Avalanche, he receives $300 in Arctic Cat Cash toward the purchase of an ATV good through June 10.

TSE tracks the test drives and Avalanche purchases. It is also responsible for sending the Arctic Cat Cash.

The sweepstakes offers three grand prizes of an Arctic Cat 375 4x4 Automatic ATV and 25 first prizes of Arctic Cat duffel bags.

Entries can be submitted by mail, at and at participating Chevy and Arctic Cat dealerships. All entries are sent to TSE, which informs winners and arranges for prize delivery.

Television ads will complement the direct marketing push.

"Well, the important thing that they were trying to do is bring consumers into the dealerships obviously to sell more cars," Tuchman said. "Just in terms of the environment right now, it's a hard time within the auto industry, and programs like this help GM stay on top."

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