DETROIT: General Motors bypassed the trade media at the Detroit Auto Show last week and made a "press conference" unveiling the new Z06 model available to the general public via video-enabled cell phones.
Held January 10th during the auto show's press preview days, the event drew 4,000 visitors via cell phone, said Paul Edwards, GM media operations manager.
It marked the first time GM has used cell phones for a press event, Edwards said. To his knowledge, it's the first time any automaker has done so.
"We realize video-enabled phones are a relatively small piece of the cell universe, but it's growing," Edwards said. "As the media landscape changes out there and consumers get more options to access information, we want to stay up to date."
GM sees the Z06 as a car that will appeal to early adopters, hence making video-enabled cell phones a good avenue for reaching that audience.
GM told consumers about the conference call through advertisements it ran in Detroit newspapers. It also put the word out via e-mail to the network of Corvette owners clubs around the country.
Reporters were welcome to use the new technology to watch the event, but GM doesn't have data on how many reporters did so. Most of the auto press was in Detroit at the auto show and, therefore, could have seen the event in person.
The automaker used an outside vendor to handle the logistics of sending the event via video-enabled phones.
Cell-phone users also could watch interviews with GM engineers and video clips of the Z06. GM made available for download a ring tone of the Z06's engine revving, as well.