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Old 01-31-2007, 02:16 PM   #1
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Default GM goes for hip with shotgun blog

GM goes for hip with shotgun blog

GM goes for hip with shotgun blog website uses citizen journalists

General Motors isn’t known for being hip.

But it might just be onto something with its new Web site.

Quietly, during the last few months GM has been soliciting so-called "citizen journalists,"from college campuses and freelance journalism Web sites, to apply for a chance for GM to fly them to cool, invitation-only or pricey cultural and sporting events to meet celebrities, see the behind-the-scenes action and file video blogs to share with the world.

“GM sponsors events all over the world,” said GM spokesman Dee Allen. “We get a chance to see backstage that others never get a chance to see. We wanted to invite people to come back stage with us -- or ride shotgun, as you will.”

But the automaker wanted to get people to participate, too, so it put out a call for citizen journalists to do the videos from their own perspective.

The citizen journalists don’t get paid, but GM foots the travel and accommodations bill and provides a daily stipend.

New York City’s Time Square was the location for the very first video blog, but the real kick-off will be from the Super Bowl with MTV’s TRL host Damien Fahey and three citizen bloggers, one of whom is so funny in her application videos, GM has been asked if she’s a ringer.

“She’s for real,” Allen said. “That was a citizen journalist sending something. Some of the pieces we put up will be pretty zany.”

Rebecca Taff’s posts are sure to be. She sent an application video in which she quizzed people on the streets of San Francisco about America’s addiction to coffee, asking to smell their breath and share their drinks.

Taff has been doing video and written blogs about her preparation for the Super Bowl, too: “I’ve never been to Miami. I’ve been shopping and wandering around … making some videos and random stuff like making salsa.”

Her videos are the kind of thing you might expect to see on Jay Leno or the Jon Stewart show.

It’s also the kind of thing GM hopes will draw people to its new entertainment site and create some good will among a demographic that might not have considered GM in its car shopping trips in the past.

But bloggers won’t be required to talk about GM or show GM logos.

“We’re not trying to sell cars, we’re not trying to sell trucks,” said GM spokesman Dee Allen. “We are trying to show GM in a little different light to an audience that when we do reach them I don’t think they think of us as being light.”

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