GM Drops 6 Million Mailers to Hit Consumers' 'Hot Button'

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General Motors sent a direct mail piece to 6 million consumers nationwide yesterday to promote its Hot Button program, a $50 million campaign promoting its nine U.S. brands.


Under the program, which began Monday, consumers can win one of 54 GM vehicles by visiting a dealership and pushing the blue OnStar "Hot Button" in a specially designated vehicle. OnStar, a GM subsidiary, is the nation's largest in-vehicle communications system.


GM will give away 1,000 new vehicles by Feb. 29, with total prize value reaching $25 million. To participate, a consumer must be 21 or older, have a valid driver's license, be a U.S. resident and visit a participating dealership.


The mail piece, which is in a catalog format, says "1,000 Cars and Trucks Nationwide, 1,000 Winners Nationwide, 1 Hot Button." It includes a photograph of a finger pressing the blue button as well as a Web address, www.gm.com/hotbutton, and toll-free number to find participating GM dealers.


The mail piece also promotes GM's 24-Hour Test Drive offer, which lets consumers take a GM vehicle home and test-drive it for a 24-hour period.


Hot Button contestants provide identifying information such as the last four digits of their driver's license number and their home phone number to an OnStar operator, who in turn tells them whether they won. No test drive or sales pitch is required, GM said, and the identifying information will not be used in future marketing.


"Given that the chances of winning are about one in 5,500, which is a lot better than many lottery odds of about one in 14 million, we know this promotion will have a great deal of consumer appeal," said Steve Hill, director, GM Retail Planning & GM Brand.


The campaign aims to boost consumer awareness. The company hopes to increase traffic at its 7,000 dealerships by 30 percent to 40 percent during the promotion, which takes place amid the industry's traditionally slow months of January and February.


The Hot Button program, designed by GM's corporate agency, Interpublic Group of Companies' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Troy, MI, is supported by an extensive communications plan. Besides direct mail, it includes television, print, Internet and public relations.


Six McCann Worldgroup companies -- McCann-Erickson, Momentum, MRM Partners Worldwide, Zentropy, Trans World and WeberShandwick -- worked in partnership with GM on the program.


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