There are the traditional ways of marketing to car owners, such as mailers and dealership open houses.
Then there are the untraditional ways.
Put what DaimlerChrysler Corp.'s Dodge Div. did in Orlando, FL in the latter category.
Dodge arranged for 12,000 people, consisting of 2,500 Dodge owners and their families, to spend the weekend at Universal Studios' new theme park, Island of Adventure.
"It's our first experience with such a large-scale event," says Dodge Div. Vice President Jim Julow. "It's a stepping stone from traditional marketing to what we'll do in the future."
The event is part of a multi-million marketing agreement making Dodge the exclusive automotive partner for Universal's wide range of theme parks, motion pictures and consumer products.
DaimlerChrysler bills the relationship as one of the largest fully integrated automotive and entertainment partnerships ever.
"From motion pictures to consumer goods, theme parks and the Internet, we now have avenues to gain exposure for all of our products and to serve both new and existing customers," says Mr. Julow.
The Dodge owners who journeyed to Universal Studios purchased special packages which included theme park admissions, parking, early morning access to the park, special seating at shows, Dodge Viper rides, an exclusive owners' party and a fireworks show.
Dodge dressed up the park for the event with 13 different car displays and 41 vehicles (six of them Vipers) placed throughout the facility.
Four of the displays were built specifically for the event.
"We haven't figured out what to do with them afterwards," says event coordinator Bo Puffer. "Maybe we'll give them to local dealers."