Making Buick Regal Again, It Ain't Easy

May 20, 2010

You know when you surf the web for good car news, you know, the stuff that gets your blood pumping when you see big, fat wheels, torque-melting power from a turbocharged engine, or sexy and graceful lines made from the finest metals mother earth has to offer, Buick is really not a name that leaps to mind. Not even on an "I'm feeling lucky" Google search.
So it was with some wonder and an odd bit of glee that I read that Buick's new Regal will also come to North America is the hot GS version with 255 horsepower, even more torque and a six-speed manual transmission. That isn't what one expects from a Buick. But what should we expect in terms of new ads from Buick? How will they repair their image using the various media at their disposal? What is Buick's new image?
Well, sometimes you have to look backward to go forward, and thanks to the all-knowing Internet I came across some good and bad Buick ads that over the years marked the apogee and decline of the brand. And the rebirth of the brand too.

1964 Riviera: This ad to me represents everything that was great about the brand many, many moons ago. The ad is typical for the time, with the sexist imagery and language, but it does tell you what the car and the brand is all about. Sleek lines, power, elegance and the ads convinced you that you wanted to be seen in the car.

1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme: Dazed and confused is this ad. It's funny, which isn't what I would associate with a Buick ad, but hey, at least they tried something different. But the product itself was only mediocre. It was GM was obsessed with badge engineering and I think Ron Zarella, that marketing guru was on his way to further destroying the company with crappy content, both the cars and the ads. This one was pitching value and a long list of features as selling points. If it were a Japanese compact, I would have expected that, but not fro, Buick.

2008 Buick The Dream: More like Buick the nightmare when you watch this piece of commercial drivel. The music is Aerosmith, the car is the lame-o Lacrosse, and nothing, absolutely nothing in this ad works. I know the song is Dream On, but this reeks of an imaginative black hole. Dreaming of being Tiger pre-sex scandal still couldn't sell those cars. Bad car, bad ad concept, bad execution. Buick had hit its nadir with this piece of crap. 

Where China Goes, So Goes Buick: I never thought the day would come when a Chinese Buick ad would make a good impression on me. No, I don't speak or read Chinese, but the images are great, the creativity with the little animated men is a nice touch (albeit a bit way out there), and the emphasis on the car from all kinds of angles is the way to go. No sports stars, no rock star music, just plain good images and creativity. Maybe China is the future? 

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