The GMC Granite Concept Vehicle; NAIAS launch piece


GMC Granite Stars On the Small, Small Screen
BY KEITH BARRY01.19.108:30 AM

Visitors to the youth-oriented GMC Granite concept’s new website will undoubtedly notice a black-and-white square positioned above the black-and-white square that is the GMC Granite concept. It’s called a QR code, and GM hopes it will revolutionize the way they advertise automobiles.

Things just haven’t been the same for GM since the days when Pat Boone and Dinah Shore (video) crooned about the ’59 Chevy Impala on TV variety shows. Today, the media audience is segmented more than ever, and it just doesn’t make sense for an automaker to spend millions for spots during Gary, Unmarried when anyone under 40 has their nose buried in a smartphone fingertagging friends on YouFace (we even watch 30 Rock on Hulu).

That’s why GM isn’t planning to waste money on television advertising should the GMC Granite or a similar vehicle make it to production. Steve Rosenblum, marketing director for GMC and Buick, told Automotive News that marketing aimed at younger consumers could help boost GM’s sales of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

With smartphones making up an estimated 40 percent of cellphone sales to those under 40 by next year, GM says those QR codes are key for attracting buyers too young to remember the Chevy Monza. QR, which stands for “quick reference,” allows smartphone users to take a picture of a barcode on a brochure or print ad and instantly be redirected to the GMC website for more information. Right now, most smartphone users have to download extra software to be QR compatible, so GM must be aiming their ads at the earliest of early adopters. It is still a concept car, after all.

The youth-oriented ad campaign dovetails with GM’s own positioning of the Granite. Last week in Detroit, GM said that the boxy hatchback was designed as an “urban utility vehicle” aimed at a “new generation” of GMC consumers who wanted bold exterior design with interiors reminiscent of loft-style apartments.

Measuring 161 inches from bumper to bumper, it’s a foot shorter than a Chevy Cobalt and by far the tiniest vehicle ever to wear the GMC badge. We’re guessing that if GMC keeps the “We Are Professional Grade” tagline, they’ll be marketing the Granite to an entirely different kind of professional.

Photo: Chuck Squatriglia /


The List of Massive Brands using QR Codes

Many people are asking if 2010 will be the year of QR Codes. We think the answer is a resounding “YES!” But you might think we’re biased because we live and breathe QR Codes. So please don’t take our word for it.

First, take a look at this Google Trends Chart which shows a steady increase in the world’s interest in QR Codes over the past few years. Now take look at the following list of 10 Massive Brands and their current or planned QR Code executions and draw your own conclusion:

1. December 2009 – Google announces that Favorite Places will contain QR Codes

2. January 2010 – GMC uses QR Codes to promote the new Granite vehicle

3. February 2010 – The Detroit Red Wings create a QR Code Game Program

4. February 2010 – The Weather Channel allows viewers to download the Weather Channel Android APP via a QR Code on live television

5. February 2010 – Best Buy uses QR Codes to directly link customers to mobile shopping

6. March 2010 – Ford uses a QR Code in a print ad for the Figo vehicle in an Indian newspaper

7. March 2010 – Chevy places QR Codes on cars during SXSW festival

8. March 2010 – Starbucks uses QR Codes in mobile APPs to allow consumers to pay at cash with a simple scan of a phone

9. March 2010 – Addidas Japan launches the FIFA World Cup 2010 site featuring a QR Code that takes you directly to the mobile version of the site

10. March 2010 – Facebook is about to give 450mil users and brands a QR Code linking to their Profile Page or Fan Page

Have you recently seen other Big Brands using QR Codes? Let us know.


Some of the video content behind the QR codes were designers’ interviews, as seen:

Design file of printed piece:

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