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Chevy To Brand Telemundo Special

Even if you don't speak Spanish, it won't take you long to figure out that General Motors is the lead sponsor of upcoming music-awards special—El Premio de la Gente—on Telemundo. Even a viewer equipped with a TiVo 30-second skip button would have a hard time missing that fact.

For one thing, the carmaker's Chevrolet brand name and logo will be prominently displayed on the screen at the start of the show, a sort of People's Choice Awards for the Latin music industry, and every time it comes back from commercial. The 2003 edition of the program, on-screen, will be titled Chevrolet Presents El Premio de la Gente.

In addition, a bevy of brand-new Chevrolets are taking starring roles in the program, along with the musicians who receive awards. Chevy's sporty new SSR model will be on stage throughout the two-hour special, which is produced by Uno Productions and tapes at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas next week (air date: Nov. 4).

A gaggle of other Chevy models will line the red-carpet area that leads to auditorium where the awards show takes place.

And that's not all. During the show, GM North America President Gary Cowger will appear in a 30-second spot talking about GM "quality" and will participate in the special itself as an awards presenter.

Increasingly, mainstream advertisers are thinking beyond the 30-second TV spot in their approach to the Hispanic consumer. That's especially true of GM, which markedly ramped up its marketing effort toward the Hispanic segment two years ago, according to Sonia Green, director of Hispanic marketing for General Motors. That was after the company experienced an 11% drop in market share among Hispanic car buyers from 1990 to 2000. The company reacted by boosting its budget for marketing to Hispanics by about 65%. The added resources are paying off: GM has recouped five of those lost share points.

But it's "grass-roots" marketing opportunities like El Premio
that really resonate with Hispanics, says Green. "Music is such a major part of the fabric of the Hispanic community." Consumers are particularly involved with Premio
because the awards are based on votes by the public for their favorite artists.

Voting kiosks are located at numerous retail outlets, including Chevrolet dealerships, Virgin Music stores, and Vons and Albertsons grocery chains.

In addition, Yahoo struck a deal to be the program's official Web-site host, both for voting online and as a place where viewers could go to get information about the program, the nominees and past winners.

Not surprisingly, there's a major marketing tie-in to the voting process. Consumers register to vote, supplying information that includes name, mailing address and a few other vital statistics. In addition to voting for their favorite music and artists, they also can vote for their favorite Chevy. GM uses the registration lists for direct-mail pieces. Green says it's a marketing tool that's useful not just for drumming up potential business but also for helping the company evaluate just how effective El Premio
is in making viewers aware of and helping to sell Chevrolet cars.

Yahoo's marketing deal for the show is also multifaceted, involving TV, radio, print, and signage at the retail voting kiosks, as well as the ability to sell its own advertising for the Web sites it has created for the program, according to Liz Sarachek, Yahoo's executive director sales, U.S. Hispanic.

Yahoo en Español has sold online sponsorship ads for the Premio
Web site to Motorola and Allstate and, as a part of the deal, is taking executives from both companies to the awards show in Las Vegas. The sites are also linked to the main Yahoo portal as well as to Yahoo's portal in Mexico.

In the Premio
awards show, Yahoo will have one spot to promote a new singles service it recently launched on Yahoo en Español. (As part of a separate agreement with Telemundo, Yahoo is marketing the singles service with a new dating show on the network called La Cenicienta.)

Yahoo launched its U.S. Spanish-language search engine five years ago, but it has only been the past two years "that we have really turned up the marketing heat on the Hispanic market," says Sarachek.

"We think this is an excellent platform to bring new content to our audience," she adds. Just recently, Yahoo en Español launched its first entertainment "vertical" (or content area), and the Premio
awards show is a good fit there, she says.

According to Emilce Elgarresta, senior vice president, production, for Telemundo, El Premio de la Gente
is the second-highest-rated entertainment special that the network airs each year. The viewer appeal? "They like the fact that their voice is being heard and it counts," she says. The bonus for advertisers, she adds, is an audience that's more fully engaged in the program they're watching.