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Chevrolet to Evaluate Emerging Social Media Technologies at South by Southwest

Chevrolet to learn about the best practices for connecting with customers in a digital age

DETROIT, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 12, Chevrolet will launch three social-media applications at South by Southwest, as a pilot test of emerging technologies that will help Chevrolet connect with consumers. During the interactive, music and film conferences and festivals, Chevrolet will have an opportunity to introduce more than 185,000 attendees to products like the Camaro, Volt, and Cruze. As one of the preeminent interactive conferences, South by Southwest also provides an opportunity for Chevrolet to learn what attendees feel are the best practices and emerging technologies in social media.

"Social media is a powerful tool in a digital world where people can get news instantly on their smart phone, watch television shows on streaming video, and communicate with friends on social-networking sites," says Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager. "For Chevrolet, South by Southwest provides an invaluable opportunity to learn how best to communicate with customers in by leveraging these technologies."

Accordingly, Chevrolet will focus on integrating technologies and events at South by Southwest, creating opportunities to talk with, and learn from, attendees.

Evaluating Emerging Technologies

Chevrolet will evaluate three emerging technologies during the conference, including location-based social networking, quick response codes, and augmented reality.

  • For location-based social networking, Chevrolet has partnered with Austin-based Gowalla. From their smart phones, Gowalla users can "check in" to let friends and followers know where they are at a given moment. Gowalla users in Austin will receive a welcome message from Chevrolet, while a select number will receive icons redeemable for transportation in a dedicated fleet of Chevrolet vehicles, or information at Chevrolet lounges around the city.

  • Chevrolet will use Quick Response (QR) codes to introduce attendees to the key features of vehicles including the Camaro, Volt, and Cruze. When photographed using a camera phone, the QR codes will launch a dedicated microsite with key features of the vehicle. For example, a QR code on the hood will take attendees to a micro-site to learn more about the 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine in the Cruze, which is expected to deliver class-leading 40 miles per gallon.

  • For augmented reality, Chevrolet is one of the first automotive companies to use the emerging technology in a mobile application. Users who download the Chevrolet iReveal application, available in Beta form, will be able to unlock three-dimensional models of Chevrolet vehicles. The application will provide key specifics of the vehicles, and insert the virtual image of the car over the actual streetscape viewed through the smart phone camera lens.

"The potential of these technologies is incredible," says Christopher Barger, Director of Global Communications and Technology for GM. "Imagine using Quick Response Codes to download the price and options for a vehicle on a dealer lot right to your cell phone. Or, imagine using augmented reality to virtually preview different colors of the Camaro in your own driveway. We are just scratching the surface of what's possible with mobile technologies and social media applications."

South by Southwest Activities

In addition, Chevrolet will offer a number of opportunities to meet, and learn from, South by Southwest attendees.

  • Chevrolet is providing vehicles for eight teams participating in a road rally dubbed the "See the USA in your Chevrolet: A SXSW Road Trip." Teams will drive to Austin from as far away as New York City and San Diego, competing to complete missions selected by followers on Twitter. The teams will use technologies ranging from OnStar to Facebook to track and report their progress in the race, in real time.

  • As part of multiple, interactive Chevrolet displays in Austin, the Chevrolet Volt Recharging Station will help South by Southwest attendees to stay connected, with more than 100 electrical ports for recharging their cell phones, net books, and cameras.

  • Chevrolet will also make a fleet of vehicles, including Camaro, Equinox, Malibu, and Traverse, available for conference attendees. Chevrolets will provide transportation to and from the highest trafficked locations in downtown Austin. In addition, Chevrolet will offer rides to exclusive events, such as a drive to Salt Lick BBQ, a South by Southwest institution outside of Austin.

"We're very excited that Chevrolet is part of South by Southwest 2010," says SXSW Interactive Festival Producer Shawn O'Keefe. "It's great to see Chevrolet showcase how they are using emerging technologies to make their product experience better and more sustainable. With all the creative and amazing activities planned for our attendees, Chevrolet is truly connecting and building relationships with the SXSW community here in Austin and abroad."

About Chevrolet

Chevrolet is one of America's best-known and best-selling automotive brands, and one of the fastest growing brands in the world. With fuel solutions that range from "gas-friendly to gas-free," Chevrolet has 11 models that offer an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway, and offers two hybrid models. More than 2.5 million Chevrolets that run on E85 biofuel have been sold. Chevrolet delivers expressive design, spirited performance and strives to provide the best value in every segment in which it competes. More information can be found at www.chevrolet.com. For more information on the Volt, visit http://media.gm.com/volt or join the conversation at chevroletvoltage.com.

About South By Southwest

The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery. Year after year, the event is a launching pad for new creative content. New media presentations, music showcases and film screenings provide buzz-generating exposure for creators and compelling entertainment for audiences. Conference panel discussions present a forum for learning, business activity thrives at the Trade Shows and global networking opportunities abound. Austin serves as the perfect backdrop for SXSW®, where career development flourishes amid the relaxed atmosphere. Intellectual and creative intermingling among industry leaders continues to spark new ideas and carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events' conclusion.

SOURCE General Motors

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