GM Airbag Contest
Posted by Bal Vallah on July 16, 1999 at 06:23:15:

Detroit - With third-quarter sales sluggish and its share of the domestic market down 11 percent
since 1993, General Motors unveiled a new instant win airbag contest January 1st. The new airbags,
which award fabulous prizes upon violent high-speed impact, will come standard in all the company's
1998 cars.

"Auto accidents have never been so exciting!" said GM vice-president of marketing Roger Jenkins, who
expects the contest to boost 1998 sales significantly. "When you play the new GM Instant Win Airbag
Game, your next fatal collision could mean a trip for two to Super Bowl XXXII or a year's worth of
free Mobil gasoline."

Although it did not officially begin until January 1st, 1998, the airbag promotion has already been
tested in select cities, with feedback overwhelmingly positive.

"As soon as my car started to skid out of control, I thought to myself, 'Oh boy, this is it - I could
be a big winner!'" said Cincinnati's Martin Freike, who lost his wife but won fifty dollars Sunday
when the Buick LeSabre they were driving hit an oil slick at 60 m.p.h. and slammed into an oncoming
truck. "When the car stopped rolling down the embankment, I knew Ellen was dead, but all I could
think about was getting the blood and glass out of my eyes so I could read that airbag!"

"It's really addictive," said Sacramento, California resident Marjorie Kemp, speaking from a hospital
bed, where she is listed in critical condition with severe brain hemorrhaging and a punctured right
lung. "I've already crashed four cars trying to win those Super Bowl tickets, but I still haven't
won. I swear, I'm going to win those tickets, even if it kills me!" Kemp said that as soon as she is
well enough, she plans to buy a new Pontiac Bonneville and drive it into a tree.

GM officials are not surprised the new airbag contest has been so well received. "In the past, nobody
really liked car wrecks, and that's understandable. After all, they're scary and dangerous and,
sometimes, even fatal," GM CEO Paul Offerman said. "But now, when you drive a new GM car or truck,
your next serious crash could mean serious cash. Who wouldn't like that?" Offerman added that in the
event a motorist wins a prize, but is killed, that prize will be awarded to the next of kin.

According to GM's official contest rules, the odds of winning the Grand Prize, a 1998 Cutlass
Supreme, are 1 in 43,000,000. Statistical experts, however, say the real chances of winning are
significantly worse. "If you factor in the odds of getting into a serious car accident in the first
place - approximately 1 in 720,000, the actual odds of winning a prize each time you step into your
car are more like 1 in 31 trillion." Furthermore, even if one is in an accident, there is no
guarantee the airbag will inflate.

"I was recently broadsided by a drunk driver in my new Chevy Cavalier," said Eire, Pennsylvania
resident Jerry Rolaner "My car was totalled and, because it was the side of my car that got hit, my
airbag didn't even inflate. But what really got me is the fact that the drunk driver who rammed the
side of my car with the front of his 1997 Buick Regal, won a $100 gift certificate from Office Depot.
That's just plainwrong."

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