GM, Women.com Team on Co-Branded Site

In a bid to market online to what it considers a hot demographic, General Motors tapped Women.com for a co-branded site, the companies said Monday.

The site, “Women in Motion,” will spotlight GM vehicle, technology and service brands — including Chevrolet, Buick, GM BuyPower, OnStar, GMAC Financial Services and GM Goodwrench — while providing female-focused automobile purchasing, maintenance and safety information.

The Web site relies heavily on branded content — like weekly rich media “journal entries” of a pair of women touring the country in a Chevy Impala.

Through the deal, the world’s largest automobile manufacturer is seeking to boost its appeal to women — who, according to the companies, spend more than $81 billion annually on new car purchases and influence 80 percent of vehicle altogether.

Women also represent more than 50 percent of the Web-surfing population, according to recent Jupiter Media Metrix studies.

“Women.com’s understanding of the women’s market, and the focus on giving women exactly what they need and want online, made them a strong partner in our efforts to reach female consumers,” said Michael Browner, GM’s executive director for media and marketing operations.

GM will also glean consumer information from the site. Polls and a bulletin-board area — which invites visitors to post responses to questions like “What features would you like to see on cars of the future?” — are geared at providing GM insight into and potentially communication with visitors.

The companies said GM anticipates incorporating this feedback to design and develop automotive products and services that are directly relevant to women.

For its part, Women.com scores a major-league partner — helpful in its struggle against competitors like iVillage. iVillage is the 28th largest Internet property, according to recent Jupiter Media Metrix rankings, while Women.com is 33rd.

“The automotive market is a key target for Women.com,” said Jeff Bruce, senior vice president of sales and client marketing at the San Mateo, Calif.-based company. “By continually growing our relationship with General Motors and working together on the programming of the ‘Women In Motion’ Web site, we are uniting a huge audience of women … with one of the leading automakers.”

Bruce said the GM deal, which comes as an extension of a previous advertising deal, is indicative of Women.com’s historic reliance on offline advertisers.

“While we participated in the dotcom run-up over last year, we’re focused on traditional advertisers like … Proctor & Gamble and Unilever. We’ve always been focused on traditional advertisers who have always looked at marketing to women. And we look at this program as an extension into the auto category of what we’ve been doing really successfully for a while now.”

“We take our demographic … women aggregated around A-to-Z content, and find integration points that make sense for an advertiser,” added Bruce, who said Women.com’s advertiser base currently is comprised of about 55 percent traditional advertisers.

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