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Car Ad Corner: Buick Has No Idea It’s Sitting On A Gold Mine

2017 Buick LaCrosse will feature many Avenir-inspired design cues and introduce the new face of Buick.  LaCrosse will make its global debut in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Buick is an incredibly strange car company. In the United States, they are considered a brand for old people, even more so than Cadillac. In China, Buick is absolutely killing it. Both Caddy and Buick think they need to shed the stereotype that their buyers have one foot in the grave. For Caddy, that it the path they should travel and are on their way. For Buick, that’s a terrible decision.

Cadillac is clearly a more performance oriented brand that is gaining traction, but has a way to go. Their small efforts are working, but they need to do more by continuing to upsell their performance a bit more along with generating a few new models. The CTS-V and ATS-V are absolute monsters, but they cannot carry that brand. Buick, on the other hand is going for a full frontal assault down market to the younger crowd. No sophistication, just hard nosed, snarky ads directly pointed at the young. This is the worst idea they’ve had in 20 years.

Here’s the epitome of their ad misdirection right now.

Let’s not even get in to how intolerable Max Greenfield is as an actor or spokesperson. We’ll leave that conversation to Perez Hilton. Even if you are trying to get in with the young crowd, just because someone is on a TV show about young people (New Girl: Fox) doesn’t mean they are good to have in your commercials. Seriously, stop it.

The ad itself misses the mark in so many ways. Talent was the first, but that obviously is just bad casting and not a negative towards the company or the agency. The most glaring error in this whole mess is when Greenfield says the line “razor sharp handling.” Buicks do not have razor sharp handling, especially when considering the focus of the ad is the LaCrosse, their most comfort and luxury oriented grand touring sedan. This is where Buick is missing the boat and where the ad agency didn’t come in as a true partner; they came in and just gave Buick what they wanted. Buick doesn’t know what it wants and this ad shows that in spades. The agency should have suggested a new direction.

The ad itself is just cheesy, but that goes back to the talent and script. The LaCrosse is described as a getaway vehicle. Wrong. If there were real paparazzi after Greenfield, they’d easily be able to keep up in something as simple as a Renault Twizzy or a pedal bike.

Buick should throw all of its ad cash at doing exactly the opposite of what Lincoln is doing. Lincoln is attempting to position itself as an unapologetic luxury brand for the upper middle class. They know who they are, they know who to market to, and they are doing an extremely good job at conveying that message. Buick should take a similar route, but the opposite way. Still be firm with tone and message, but be the every man’s luxury brand: approachable luxury car company for those looking to waft over roads, not attack them with a pick-ax-like sports car, and not set their wallets on fire. If Buick did this, their US market share could see a significant uptick.

There is a massive market for this type of driver and Buick is shoving them to the side to try to get younger. There are more ads with the same tonality and message, but they’re not worth talking about as they are the exact same drivvel as the above. It’s a gold mine for a niche that Buick could absolutely kill in. This is just a bad ad which furthers the Buick decline with the youth.


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