Buick: Luxury Not Just For The Rich

McCann’s New Century Work Talks to Families in a Democratic Tone
DETROIT–General Motors’ Buick division strikes an egalitarian chord in a new campaign for the Century sedan from McCann-Erickson.
Two 30-second spots introduce a new tagline, “A luxury car for everyone.” They argue that consumers need not be rich to enjoy a well-appointed sedan.
The first spot, which breaks today, features images of girls playing with flowers in a field on a summer day. A voiceover from actor Willem Dafoe asks, “Are rich people taller than the rest of us? Are their loved ones more deserving of an air bag? Are we the only car company that doesn’t think so?” The girls are next seen throwing petals in the Century as their parents enjoy a cliff top drive. “Loaded for under $24,000,” concludes Dafoe. A second spot will break this summer. Both target parents aged 45-59, said Anthony Derhake, Century’s brand manager.
In addition, two print ads will appear in USA Today this Wednesday and Thursday relating the car to the final episode of Seinfeld on May 14. The copy for one reads: “Jerry, since you’ll be moving out of that apartment pretty soon, remember, Century has a really big trunk (enough room for 62 cereal boxes, to be exact).” A second states: “Dear Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George: After your last show, we’d be pleased to drive you home There’s plenty of room.” Two more ads will appear in July publications.
Last year’s Century campaign simply introduced the restyled, re-engineered car to consumers, said Karen Ebben, Buick marketing services manager. That effort was tagged: “Discover a little luxury in this Century.”
The new work is the first vehicle-line effort to follow Buick’s overall branding campaign (“Isn’t it time for a real car?”), launched in January. The campaigns are the first to air under the auspices of Jonathan Cranin, McCann’s new chief creative officer for GM business, said an agency representative.
The campaign also comes on the heels of a stellar sales period for the Century. In a year-to-year comparison, Century sales are up 55 percent, Derhake said. Buick spent $65 million on Century ads in 1997, per Competitive Media Reporting.