Fareha Zakir from GM Canada
“Is that a Buick?” Indeed, is it? Buick’s new line of midsize sedans, crossovers and convertibles have been designed or redesigned, like the LaCrosse, with a sleeker and decidedly more upscale look. Buick hopes to lure away the Lexus consumer with its new offerings. Their cheeky, new slogan, launched in the fall of 2014 hints at the new marketing strategy they have taken and it’s paying off. Buick’s sales fell 2.6% in 2015 but have increased more than 20% over the first two months of this year. Buick’s new campaign tagline, “Is that a Buick?” shows a humourous side to the brand, but also an honesty that is striking a chord with consumers. It shows Buick recognizes how their brand has come to be perceived: a bit old, dowdy and stale.
But with their new line of offerings in Canada including the Encore (compact luxury SUV), Envision (compact luxury SUV), Enclave (full size luxury SUV) and LaCrosse (full size luxury sedan) which are aggressively being marketed with television commercials showing young, hip families, urbanites and even dogs (their “Woof” dog commercial is funny and cute, featuring lots of different dogs from different homes in a leafy suburban neighbourhood “woofing” back and forth about Buick’s new look) being surprised that this car is indeed a Buick, they stand a good chance at turning their image around. The average age of a Buick buyer has been that of retirees driving to old age homes, however, now they are attracting recent empty nesters and even people in their 30s. That is quite a significant leap in just a year or two since this campaign has launched. The updated, modern look of the vehicles and fresh campaign give them a good chance to become strong competitors with Lexus, BMW and Lincoln (also recently rebranding their image, featuring a suave and brooding-looking Matthew McConaughey) in the luxury midsize SUV and sedan market.
Another important angle that Buick has been reinforcing in their new “Is that a Buick?” campaign is that of customer satisfaction and reliability. For the past decade, J.D. Power has ranked Buick in the top 10 list for long-term reliability, even winning top honours in 2007 and 2009. And just because they have a new, updated look, does not mean that they have lost one of the most important selling points for many consumers: that of a trusty steed (they just would like to take out the “old” from the usual saying). Buyers, young(ish) and old(er) alike, want a vehicle that not only looks good, but that is safe, reliable and good quality for their money. Buick aims to do just that.
Lian Novak is a Toronto-based marketing communications professional. She is passionate about brand management, writing and all things fashionable. Oh, and pie. Always pie. She can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her musings on Twitter @Lian_Novak.