Chevy leverages iPad features for ESPN app sponsorship

GM’s Chevy sponsors newly launched ESPN the MagaziWNBA star Diana Taurasi is featured on the cover of ESPN the Magazine’s Body issue, which is available via the iPad app

General Motors’ Chevy is driving sales of its 2011 Silverado trucks via an exclusive launch sponsorship of ESPN the Magazine’s new application for Apple’s iPad.

Available in Apple’s App Store, the iPad application was developed by Bottle Rocket and designed by Moment Design. GM is running various in-application ad units featuring Chevy Silverado, including a launch-screen logo and mobile video spots.

“The iPad app is aimed primarily at increasing our Insider members,” said Gary Hoenig, general manager and editorial director at ESPN the Magazine, New York. “It is free to our magazine subscribers, so this increases the value proposition for those people, since they get the Web, print and mobile content as part of that subscription.

“We’re partnering with GM for the launch sponsorship of iPad app, with ads that blow up when users touch them, as well as preroll and interstitial video, which users can experience as they go along—they’re not intrusive,” he said. “We’ll do a lot more going forward, but this is primarily a content play, with advertising revenue being an extra.

“This is a chance for advertisers to experiment and see what really works on the iPad.”

GM’s Chevy sponsors newly launched ESPN the MagaziESPN the Magazine app’s loading screen

The Chevrolet Silverado, along with its counterpart the GMC Sierra, is the latest line of full-size pickup trucks from General Motors.

ESPN the Magazine is a bi-weekly sports magazine published by the ESPN sports network.

ESPN the Magazine and Insider merged digitally in June of 2009. Consumers can now find premium magazine content online through ESPN Insider, and soon via an ESPN Insider application for the iPhone.

GM’s Chevy sponsors newly launched ESPN the MagaziThe quarter-screen Chevy Silverado ad unit

Eventually, ESPN the Magazine and ESPN Insider plan to support other smartphone operating systems such as Google’s Android and RIM’s BlackBerry.

Courting desirable iPad demographics
While the ESPN the Magazine iPad application is loading, users see a Chevy logo along with the message “Brought to you by Silverado.”

The application also features expandable banner ads. Once tapped by a user, the ad unit expands to take up a quarter of the screen, revealing a full-color image of the 2011 Chevy Silverado, a “tap here to learn more” tab, along with the following call-to-action:

“Chevy Silverado, the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickups on the road. Expand to see more Silverado 1500.”

GM is also running preroll and interstitial video ads promoting Chevy Silverado within the iPad application.

The ESPN the Magazine application features exclusive daily/24-7 content, which is also updated issue-by-issue, including original video, interviews and photography, all specially customized for the iPad.

The application also features archived ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” ESPN’s “E:60” and “Outside the Lines” video content. sports analysis from “Picks Central” and bar trivia from the “Answer Guy.”

After a free two-week trial, a six-month subscription for the application is $9.99 and includes a subscription to ESPNInsider.com, ESPN’s paid content site.

ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue is available this week via the magazine’s iPad application.

Current ESPN the Magazine and ESPN Insider subscribers can download the application free of charge using their ESPN Insider username and password.

There are ads in the current edition of the print magazine promoting the iPad application, and there will be online and mobile ads going forward letting people know about the application.

The ads stress the fact that magazine subscribers can get this for free once they sign up as an Insider.

While the current promotional push is focused on existing magazine subscribers and Insiders, there will be ESPN.com promos and audio spots on the ESPN Radio application, as well as other house inventory.

“We did not duplicate the magazine on the iPad—we wanted it to be a unique experience,” Mr. Hoenig said. “Each body of work should be unique to the platform that it appears on, and we want to make our content available to our subscribers on the best available screen.

“We’re giving them a reason to go back every day and use it more often,” he said. “People will get the new issue via the iPad app automatically two times a month.

“We have about 2 million magazine subscribers and God knows how many Insider subscribers, and we want to make the experience on tablets and smartphones as appealing as possible.”

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