THE BUYER Eleanor Trickett, Campaign
Continuing a regular series, reporter Eleanor Trickett sees how a
product or service lives up to the promise of its marketing. This month,
she asks whether the Vauxhall Astra launch lived up to the huge
publicity it received - both in the industry and in the public eye.
Having passed my driving test last month, I have been longing to strut
my stuff in something other than my boyfriend’s skittish F-reg Vauxhall
Astra. So - not exactly ringing the changes - I phoned about the press
ad for the new Astra on 26 March, the day the campaign launched.
Chirpy ’Trevor’ answered and asked me several questions aimed at finding
out about me and my car buying history. He then announced that the
brochure wouldn’t be ready until the end of the month. Hang on - isn’t
this a huge car launch, preceded by a lengthy pitch process and much
Why isn’t the brochure ready? I promptly forgot all about it.
So, when I got home a couple of weeks later to find a parcel delivery
card on the mat, I got excited at the thought of a juicy present. A week
later, I cut short my Saturday lie-in, walked a mile to the sorting
office, queued and eventually received my parcel. It wasn’t a present;
it was the Astra brochures.
And, to be honest, pretty and informative as they were, they didn’t
warrant the effort. I got a glossy book taking me through the car’s
specifications, including the standard queasy upholstery. Extra
brochures completed the pack.
I won’t be unfair: the content was good and an intelligently
personalised letter was attached, telling me where I could have a test
drive. I considered frightening the dealership by screeching in with my
P-plates showing but my boyfriend decided that if we did change our car,
we wouldn’t go for an Astra again, so we thought we wouldn’t waste the
dealer’s time. It’s a pity the same consideration wasn’t extended to
THE SELLER Sue Doyle, GGT Direct
Sue Doyle, a group account at GGT Direct Advertising, responds on behalf
of Vauxhall Motors. Vauxhall has been selling cars since 1903 and was
bought by General Motors in 1925.
Eleanor is quite right to be unhappy about trudging around to the post
office to collect her Astra information; the last thing Vauxhall wants
is to put its prospective customers to any trouble.
The simple fact is that the general envelope used for customer
information requests is built to accommodate the large number of
brochures many people ask for. Until now, there have been hardly any
complaints regarding lost lie-ins, but we’ll certainly look for ways to
improve the situation.
Although Eleanor isn’t in the market for a new Astra, there were 400,000
identified Astra prospects who are. Had she been a hot prospect, she
would have received a letterbox-friendly silver launch invitation and
the chance to win one of ten new Astras in the ’quality is a right not a
privilege’ campaign launched in the national press and on TV. This pack
filled Vauxhall dealerships to overflowing on the launch night of 26
March, causing some of them to book local supermarket car parks for
Regarding chirpy Trevor, the end of the month was three working days
from the launch night, and all information was held until that
Eleanor responded to teaser advertising which pre-empted the launch
With that type of campaign, we believe the most helpful approach is to
tell customers when they should expect their information. Calling
Vauxhall just before launch gives people the opportunity to be one of
the first recipients of the new car details.
Normally, somebody asking Vauxhall for information on any car in the
Vauxhall range should receive a pack within 48 hours, which is above
industry standards. This applies to telephone and e-mail requests via
the Vauxhall Website.
Vauxhall accepts that there is room for improvement in this area of its
customer communications and has already taken steps to ensure a slicker
process in the future.