Buick

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1945

The sleekest, most stylish, spacious luxury automobile that also delivers thrifty gas mileage.

Market share

Data isn't available, but sales were slow because of World War II.

Ad spending

GM in total spent nearly $13 million

Media use

A lot of print, with $10 million in magazines. Newspapers got the rest.

Ad message

Patriotic themes touting its war-goods manufacturing. "When better auto- mobiles are built, Buick will build them."

1965

Buick pitched buyers that the brand was roomy and high-performance with sporty elegance.

Market share

By the mid-1960s Buick's market share hovered at about 5.4%.

Ad spending

The automaker spent $16 million

Media use

Those who remember the Buick jingle are likely recalling it from radio, not TV.

Ad message

"Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?" was tailored to models. For its muscle car, Wildcat, Buick asked, "Wouldn't it be fun to drive one of these babies to Riverside?" English fashion models appeared in print ads.

1985

In 1985, Buick positioned the brand as high-value transportation, and aimed for upscale buyers.

Market share

Unit sales climbed from 20 years prior, but share grew only to 5.5%.

Ad spending

$42 million for Buick alone

Media use

More than half of the total budget, $29 million, went to network TV.

Ad message

The GM brand still asks consumers whether they wouldn't really rather have a Buick and shows them what the Buick lifestyle is. A TV spot for the entry-level Skyhawk, aimed at the 30-and-younger set, was shot on a beach with cute girl singers and the car slaloming beach umbrellas. Buick Century ads, aimed at older drivers, portrayed as the model as "one of the rewards you get for playing the game and winning." Electra sedan magazine ads focused on how "one of America's finest boulevard luxury names" performed in the rugged Australian Outback.

2005

Buick touts itself as a quality vehicle that is aspirational, yet attainable.

Market share

Not too many folks are attaining Buicks; the brand has only a 1.7% share.

Ad spending

$116 million in the first half for Buick

Media use

Buick lavished $43.7 million on network TV. Some print, Internet.

Ad message

Buick uses "Dream Up" as a tagline, a riff of the Aerosmith song "Dream On." The marketer begins a print and online ad effort to change consumers' perceptions of the car's quality with the pitch that "At Buick we know that quality makes the difference between a car you like and a car you love." Golfer Tiger Woods continues as spokesman, and in a TV spot he escapes paparazzi in a LaCrosse to show off its 240 horsepower and agility. Buick also became the exclusive sponsor of AOL's weekly video online recap of ABC's hit series "Desperate Housewives."

Source: Automotive News, Ad Age archives, "The Buick: A Complete History," BAR/LNA Multimedia Sevice, TNS Media Intelligence

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