GM, AOL Renew Marketing Alliance

AOL Time Warner’s online service, America Online, will continue its marketing and advertising agreement with General Motors, through terms of a new arrangement outlined Wednesday.

According to the provisions of the new pact, Dulles, Va.-based America Online will promote the full line of cars and trucks made by Detroit-based GM. Ads and promotions for specific vehicles would appear on AOL properties including the America Online service, Netscape.com, CompuServe and Digital City.

The world’s largest vehicle manufacturer will also receive promotional support for its GMBuyPower.com site, which directs potential customers to dealers.

Spokespeople declined to discuss financial terms of the new agreement, other than to say it was valued in the “multi-million dollar” range.

Few additional details of the agreement were disclosed, but it’s likely that AOL will roll out a promotional contest in the near future for its client. The new effort builds on a previous alliance that saw the online giant launch several sweepstakes aimed at promoting GM vehicles to its subscribers — a formula that both parties touted as successful.

One contest offered America Online members the chance at winning different GM-related prizes weekly. The companies said nearly 400,000 subscribers signed up for the sweepstakes or requested brochures on GM products through the promotion.

“We’re excited about extending this alliance as we continue to integrate the online medium into the auto-shopping experience,” said Katherine Benoit, who is general director of General Motors’ e-GM interactive marketing and sales unit. “We’ve worked together to give AOL members more information about GM products and to strengthen the ties between consumers and our dealer network.”

In addition to its work with AOL, GM has been fond of striking advertising and promotional deals with other portals and niche interest sites, to drive sales via GMBuyPower. Other promotional partners include Women.com and Spanish-language portal Univision.com, as well as online auction giant eBay.

For its part, AOL is touting the renewal of its advertising deal with GM as a testament to the kind of promotions it can whip up for other e-tailers and offline companies.

“Our alliance with General Motors has been a ‘win-win,’ based on our ability to help consumers find the information they need for an auto purchase, and the unique promotional and marketing opportunities that we’ve developed for GM’s complete line of vehicles,” said Myer Berlow, America Online’s president for worldwide interactive marketing.

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