GM is launching a new grassroots marketing campaign to reach out to minority groups across the country. Dubbed ‘Ride and Drive,’ the campaign is designed to get people behind the wheel of GM vehicles without requiring a trip to the dealership.
Representatives from the company show up at places where large minority groups congregate and then let people look around and go for a spin at their leisure. In some cases, GM is even offering incentives to take the cars out for a test drive.
The ride-and-drive events are so far being met with success. A recent event had GM reps attend one of Detroit’s largest churches, the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, after a Sunday service. Parishioners were invited to test drive several Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles. GM even went so far as to offer free inspections of child car seats by their own safety experts.
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Pastor Charles Adams explained that the event demonstrated GM’s commitment to minority causes. He added, “We are encouraging our church members to take care of their community by buying locally. This is an ethical purpose that is beyond profit.”
At a similar event held in Los Angeles, the automaker reached out to the Korean-American community by showcasing the new Chevrolet Camaro, which was penned by Korean-born designer, Sangyup Lee. GM served up tasty Korean bar-b-que from a well known local food truck while patrons chatted with company representatives.
GM spokeswoman, Carolyn Normandin explained that the Ride and Drive events are, “helping to change the public’s perception of our brands,” and are giving people the chance to experience vehicles, “firsthand, on their own terms.” Last week, Normandin hosted another event at a Detroit coffee shop where patrons were offered a $5 coffee card in exchange for spending a few minutes to sit inside the new Buick Lacrosse and learn about its key features and options.
GM’s Ride-and-Drive events are so far proving to be a great way to gain exposure to markets that are often difficult to reach through traditional advertisements.
Normandin notes, “We know some people have never been in GM products before, particularly for a division like Buick/GMC. We know one way to help people fall in love with our products is to get them into our products and get them exposed to it.”