Monday, July 24, 2006

GM hits it out of the ballpark

Saturday, July 15, 2006
Business Insider
GM hits it out of the ballpark

At baseball's All Star Game in Pittsburgh this week, Chevrolet quietly brought in a few celebrities for a sneak peek at its 2007 Silverado pickup. The idea was to begin building hype for the redesigned truck ahead of its launch this fall. Officials with the General Motors Corp. brand got an earful of compliments from the high-profile guests.

But they also got a few curve balls.

One came when Harold Reynolds and John Kruk, the hosts of ESPN's Emmy-winning "Baseball Tonight," saw the redesigned pickup Monday afternoon.

Kruk, a three-time all-star outfielder and first baseman, was clearly impressed and said he could see himself behind the wheel of another pickup.

"It's all I've ever owned," he said, before being asked if he meant Chevy pickups. Shaking his head, the burly commentator softly admitted that his first truck was not so tough. "When I was 16," he said, "I had a four-speed Datsun."

Country music superstars Big & Rich also surprised a few GM execs during a walk-around of the new Silverado. Dressed in cowboy hats and boots, as if fresh from the ranch, the pair at first asked all the right questions: What's it got under the hood? How much can it pull? What size are them wheels?

Then, "Big" Kenny Alphin opened the driver's side door and started poking around. After fumbling for a minute, he got to what was really on his mind: "Is there a plug for an iPod in it?" honors Caliber

The Dodge Caliber, featured in a TV ad that riled gay-rights supporters earlier this year, was ranked as the third most researched vehicle by gay consumers before purchasing a car or truck, according to a Top 10 list.

"The most important fact revealed in this data is that our community clearly supports companies that treat us with respect," reports "And for that, we thank all the gay-friendly companies in all industries in the U.S."

More than two months ago, Chrysler's Caliber spot featuring a fluttering fairy transforming objects and people into cuter versions was called offensive and homophobic by some gay advocates.

The protestors, which didn't include, said the commercial went too far when the fairy turned a male passer-by into a preppy pedestrian holding four pink leashes connected to Pomeranians. The suggestion, the groups said, was the man was turned into a homosexual.

Former Mercury rider in the lead

Mercury marketing executives are probably saying "that's our boy Floyd" as they watched former Mercury Pro Cycling Team rider Floyd Landis take the yellow jersey in the Tour de France on Thursday. Landis cut his teeth in cycling as a standout rider for the Mercury team from 1999-2001 before joining the U.S. Postal Cycling team. On Thursday, as a rider for the Phonak team, he emerged as a leader in the race during a punishing mountain stage of the world's most prestigious cycling event.

Contributors: Brett Clanton, Josee Valcourt and Rick Blanchard.

© Copyright 2006 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


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