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Ad of the Day: Ellie Kemper Helps Buick Get Quirky for Millennial Love

DigitasLBi airs out an old brand with honest dorkiness

"When you can relate to a brand in a human way, it helps change your perception," says DigitasLBi.

Kimmy Schmidt may be unbreakable. But hey, Ellie Kemper, give that retractable roof button a rest already! 

The actress shifts her quirky-geek persona into high gear for a fun Buick campaign from DigitasLBi that introduces the General Motors nameplate's latest convertible, the Cascada, and also shows off some other models.

First up is a three-minute film that finds Kemper fantasizing about what it might be like to serve as a spokeswoman for the brand. "I don't even have a deep gravelly voice," she says ... before practicing one that sounds like a cross between laryngitis and a belch: "B-uuu-ick!" 

Ultimately, she becomes "the face of Buick mothers everywhere and their beautiful Buick families," packing an Enclave SUV with her flame-haired progeny and coining the tagline, "Buick: Eat your pancakes in luxury." 

 
"Buick has an exciting new lineup, and the challenge brought to us was how to show it off," Steve Baker, associate creative director at DigitasLBi, tells Adweek. "We wanted to find a natural way to do that and thought a spokesperson was a perfect way to bring someone in and out of the vehicles, while exploring some great features. All we needed was a face." 

Kemper was "the perfect fit," Baker adds, owing to the "smart, funny" comic chops she displayed as Erin on The Office and, more recently, as the star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. 

Shorter spots focus on specific vehicle features. Below, Kemper has just too much fun popping the Cascada's top and letting the sunshine in:

 
The goal is to "attract a younger audience that may associate the Buick brand to that of the past, not realizing the amazing car right in front of them may actually be a new Buick," says Molly Peck, the brand's director of marketing. 

Peck hopes millennial viewers warm up to the vehicles in a big way, much as Kemper grooves on the Cascada's heated steering wheel in the ad below: 

 
Finally, we learn that the Encore SUV also features a hand-warming wheel, though it's not as hot as Kemper's bespectacled gear-head co-star Gary, aka "You sweet piece of brainiac arm-candy":

 
Kemper is in fine comic form throughout the series, and the brand benefits from her energy and charm. That said, could some viewers grow weary of her schtick and tune out the message? 

"The thing about quirky-dorky is this: It's honest," Baker says. "And with honesty comes trust. That trust gets people nodding along [whether you're] exploring a vehicle and imaging what life could be like with you in it, or even imagining what your future family would look like. When you can relate to a brand in a human way, it helps change your perception. And that was exactly what we were trying to do."

CREDITS
Client: Buick
Agency: DigitasLBi
Chief Creative Officer: Ronald Ng
EVP, Managing Director: Robert Guay
EVP, Executive Creative Director: Rob Rizzo
SVP, Group Creative Director: Patrick McHugh
VP, Group Creative Director: Mark Chamberlain
Associate Creative Director: Steven Baker
Senior Copywriter: Graham Shepherd
VP, Executive Producer: Ben Raynes
SVP, Group Account Director: Brian McCallum
VP, Group Account Director: Yanlin Sun

Production Company: Community Films
Director: Seth Gordon
DP: Jim Frohna
Executive Producer: Lizzie Schwartz
Executive Producer: Carl Swan
Producer: Julie Ahlberg 

Editorial Company: Cutters Studio
Editor: Grant Gustafson

Mix: Heard City

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