Last week’s gift of a 2010 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible to Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, whose quest for a perfect game was ended by a blown call, garnered all sorts of attention for General Motors. While the detractors like The New York Times questioned the taxpayer-subsidized sports car giveaway to a professional athlete, it turns out the goodwill gesture netted GM nearly $9 million in publicity.
The non-commissioned study was undertaken by Joyce Julius & Associates who specializes in cross-media sponsorship measurement. The Corvette gift to Galarraga generated nearly $1 million from references in 714 television programs and $7.9 million from over 150,000 mentions in publications and on web sites.
“We were not contracted to do the study. We often look at national level happenings in sponsorship and provide that information to all of our clients and the media,” said Eric Wright, Joyce Julius’ vice president of research and product development, in an e-mail to Crain’s.
Going back to that same New York Times article, GM spokeman Klaus-Peter Martin was quoted last week as saying “It was probably some of the best dollars invested in publicity in Chevrolet and Corvette”. Ryndee Carney, GM corporate spokesman agreed: “The best way we can pay taxpayers back is to increase our revenue, and the only way we can do that is to sell more vehicles. We have to spend money to do that.”
With a $58,580 MSRP, the 2010 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible is one of the best selling models in the Corvette lineup. Giving it $8.9 million in publicity was a brilliant and well executed move by General Motors.