GM dealers find their place in the Sun



• Best use of newspaper (runner-up) (tie)

Agency/media: company M2 Universal

Client: Pontiac/Buick/GMC Dealers of Ontario, Chevrolet/Oldsmobile Dealers

of Ontario

Media team: Mark Wyeth, media planning manager, Karen Orr, media supervisor

Media budget: More than $1 million

Media used: Newspaper

Timing: July 2000 – ongoing


The objective was to promote the Greater Toronto Area GM Dealers to the leading edge in the competitive automotive newspaper landscape.

At any given time, a low percentage of the population is in the market to purchase a car. However, potential consumers are continually shopping makes and brands and they are highly discriminating when it comes to such a high ticket item. Thus the challenge was: How do you keep the message in the marketplace 365 days a year?

For M2, the answer lay in newspaper.


M2 decided to create a new newspaper position in the Greater Toronto Area that would allow area GM dealers to stand out from the clutter. To achieve this, they came up with a banner along the bottom of the front page of The Toronto Sun that would run 365 days a year.

Along with this prime positioning, dealers offer an opportunity to win a new GM vehicle every month through an ongoing ‘Drive Away A Winner’ promotion. Game cards for the contest run in the paper each Sunday, and readers must collect game pieces every day to complete their entry.

Completed ballots have to be dropped off at P-O-P displays in GM dealerships across Ontario. This extends GM’s presence in the Sun and drives readers into showrooms. Limited space is available in the banner, so mandatory legal copy is placed in the classified pages.

Thanks to M2′s ongoing relationship with the Sun, the ads could even be freshened up with editorial-specific creative. For example, when Tiger Woods won the Canadian Open, the Sun ran a huge front-page picture and headline announcing the win. This was reflected in the banner through timely creative featuring a message from the GM Dealers congratulating Woods.


Entries for the ‘Drive Away A Winner’ contest wildly exceeded expectations with approximately 10,000 ballots received per month. The banner position has been effectively incorporated into all GM Dealer campaigns, and the new banner has caught the attention of consumers and the auto industry.