Marketing, Motherhood, and Mayhem

Has Buick gone mad?

March 21st, 2011 by Deb McLean

Buick has not traditionally been considered a true luxury brand by most, but the automaker appears to be out to change that. A new sloganless “brand anthem” ad will break in the NCAA Final Four on April 3, created by agency Leo Burnett. 

Buick is taking over GM’s big NCAA sponsorship from Pontiac, which in past years had brought the biggest presence of any automaker in March Madness. Since GM retired the Pontiac brand in the wake of its 2009 Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Buick and Nissan luxury brand Infiniti are the only two auto brands with “Corporate Partner” level sponsorship this year.

Granted, college sports is big and these major sporting events engage college educated, professional, high-income alumni, so their target may be there.  But is it enough to change the overall impression of their brand?

I’ve read that Buick has shaved more than 10 years off its average buyer age in the last year down to about 60. The company is apparently out to drive it lower still to get more of the younger baby boomers and gen Xers. The company is launching a new small Buick, the Verano, in 2012, which will be priced under $25,000 in the hope of attracting younger wallets. But it’ll a tough putt, even for Tiger.

Buick will have a tough time catching on with the under-50 crowd because of the brand’s perception is and many more familiar, sexy brands are serving up some great product these days.  It’s my father’s car, not mine.

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