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GM Attempts to Redefine Buick Brand Via Partying

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Buick is trying to shed its image as a stodgy, driven-by-your-grandparents vehicle brand with a series of “remix” parties taking place in five U.S. cities.

The events, called “Regal Remix” get-togethers, promote the automaker’s new mid-sized car introduction, the Buick Regal 2011—which is in dealerships right now—and kick off in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami. (The most recent party took place last week in San Antonio’s historic Sunset Station.) The effort is part of the General Motors brand’s foray into the mid-sized and compact luxury car market, a segment in which it’s had a minimal presence. GM, too, is trying to position Buick to appeal to younger, affluent consumers who typically buy imported cars.

GM describes the parties (which typically have about 500-plus guests) as “low pressure” affairs in prominent venues designed to generate buzz for its Buicks, namely the Regal 2011, LaCrosse and Enclave.

Buick product marketing director Roger McCormack said that for younger consumers, Buick is a blank slate. Such consumers “may have a sense for what Buick stood for in the past,” but have only “a vague sense of what [the brand] stands for or what it is today.”

To help redefine its image, Buick tapped PR firm Cohn & Wolfe and Thrillist—a daily e-mail newsletter targeted at trendsetting urban males in major metropolitan cities—to spread the word. An online video clip showing highlights from a May Dallas “remix” party shows consumers sipping cocktails, listening to music, checking out the new Buicks and changing their perceptions in between. Said one attendee: “I thought it was a BMW when I walked up to it. So, it’s beautiful, beautiful.” Added another: “It definitely rocked my understanding of what a Buick is,” he said with a wink and a thumbs up.

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