Buick Cites Its ‘American Style’

Buick makes a nostalgic appeal to its core consumer group of aging baby boomers in a campaign from McCann-Erickson that breaks on Thursday.

A new tag, “The spirit of American style,” re places the pop-culture benediction “It’s all good,” which appeared in April 2001 in anticipation of the launch of Buick’s Rendez vous sport utility vehicle.

While Buick’s consumer base now creeps into the 60s, the McCann spots aim to bring back the brand’s “aspirational image” and reel in buyers aged 45-59, said Randall Taller ico, Buick advertising director.

Buick, like its GM counterpart Pontiac, plans a fourth-quarter splash with spending doubled from the same period last year, when CMR recorded $30 million. Buick spent $160 million in 2001, per CMR.

Tiger Woods is featured in two of the five new brand spots, all of which feature an actor portraying Harley Earl, a GM designer in the 1930s and 1940s. The actor prom ises, “I’ve come back to build you a great car.” Earl is introduced in a 12-page insert in October magazines.

“We want to communicate that the spirit and legacy of this designer continues to influence the Buicks of today,” Tallerico said.

McCann, in Troy, Mich., is also breaking new work in the “Overdrive” campaign for GM corporate during the Sept. 22 Emmy telecast. The first spot features the Madonna song “Secret” and shows people discovering old-fashioned View-Masters in odd places. Looking through the 3-D lenses, they see newer GM models, including the Cadillac CTS and Hummer H2.

GM plans a fourth-quarter promotion in which it will pass out thousands of View-Masters at events such as Monday Night Football and Thanksgiving parades, and at the GM Test Track ride at Epcot in Orlando, Fla., said C.J. Fraleigh, executive director, corporate marketing and advertising.

All of GM’s divisions will have a significant presence on both cable and primetime TV for the rest of the year, Fraleigh said.

Fraleigh said GM’s 2003 ad spending will see a “moderate” increase, probably in the single digits, compared with this year. GM spends about $1.5 billion a year, according to CMR.

Print spending, however, will see a decrease. “It’s a factor of our research,” Fraleigh said, “and it’s a factor of the effectiveness of other media.”