THE BUYER Eleanor Trickett, Campaign

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

industry speculation?

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

their visitors.

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.