Screencap from an ad for the 2011 Buick RegalEnlarge Photo
Remember those Folger's commercials -- the ones shot in high-end restaurants with an announcer who whispered, "We've replaced their premium roast coffee with Folger's Crystals!" The theory was that customers would sneer at Folger's instant coffee if they saw it coming, but if they consumed it unawares, they'd be impressed. Buick's newest ad campaign for the revamped Regal takes the same tack -- and to good effect.
Buick staffers removed or covered up every telltale badge, insignia, or text label from a 2011 Regal. Then, they let drivers in Southern California take the sedan for a spin and filmed the results. Here are a couple of commercials cut from that footage.
In truth, some of those confessions feels a little canned, a little "staged" -- but then again, this Southern California we're talking about, where the actors grow like dandelions, so it probably just comes with the territory. The commercials aren't quite as persuasive as similar ones for Hyundai or Subaru (yes, it's a trend), but it's still a very smart move for Buick. As we've mentioned before, Tiger Woods didn't do much to lower the age of Buick's customer base, which still hovers in Social Security territory. These commercials acknowledge Buick's image as a brand for grandparents, then attempt to destroy that image.
Of course, this is also a very risky move -- probably not as risky as the Facebook free-for-all that Buick launched a couple of weeks ago with its "Moment of Truth" campaign, but still dangerous. True, editors can cut negative comments from these commercials, but the very premise of the ads -- getting people to say, "Wow, that isn't as terrible as I thought a Buick would be!" -- is back-handed compliment. And we all know the rule of not knocking our product in front of customers, right?
We really like the revamped Regal, and we look forward to seeing how this plays out on the sales floor.