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Super Bowl

Buick Returns to Super Bowl With New Lineup in Tow

By Published on .

The 2016 Buick Cascada
The 2016 Buick Cascada Credit: Buick
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Buick, General Motors' fastest-growing U.S. brand in 2016, plans to advertise in the Super Bowl for a second consecutive year as it prepares to introduce three more new vehicles.

Buick officials on Wednesday said the brand has purchased 30 seconds of commercial time in the first half of the Feb. 5 game. The ad will build on the brand's "That's not a Buick" campaign that mocks outdated misperceptions of it.

Buick is amid a two-year transformation that includes seven new or freshened products. It brought out four of the seven in 2016, including the Cascada convertible and Envision compact crossover. The Cascada was featured last year in Buick's first-ever Super Bowl commercial, which starred New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and actress/model Emily Ratajkowski.

"We've reached halftime in our new product rollout as we enter 2017 and are excited to again be a part of the big game as we continue to grow awareness and shift perception of our brand," Buick said in a statement.

Publicist Groupe's EngageM-1 is handling the spot. The entity was formed in June when the Detroit offices of Leo Burnett and DigitasLBi were combined into a single unit to handle the GM account. The shop also oversees the GMC brand, which is currently in creative agency review.

Molly Peck, Buick's marketing director, said: "We're excited to showcase Buick again in front of a large audience that only the Super Bowl can provide; we're a growing brand and in fact, 47% of customers came to Buick from other brands outside of GM in 2016. The Super Bowl is the ideal place to showcase the new Buick lineup and continue to reach new consumers.

Buick revealed no details about this year's commercial. Its introductions this year include redesigns of the Enclave large crossover, which is expected to be revealed at the New York auto show in April, and the Regal midsize sedan. It also plans to launch a high-end subbrand called Avenir.

Buick's marketing chief, Tony DiSalle, said the brand has made "tremendous progress" since starting the misperceptions campaign nearly three years ago. U.S. sales rose 2.9 percent in 2016 from a year earlier, compared with a 1.3 percent decline for GM's sales overall.

In addition, Buick has made gains in third-party ratings, including the first-ever top-three finish by a domestic brand in last year's Consumer Reports reliability survey.

"We've seen good growth in brand health, and our sales are up," Mr. DiSalle said in an interview at this week's Detroit auto show. "It takes a long time because those misperceptions are formed over a long period of time. We have people that we still haven't intercepted yet that we still need to get on the radar screen."

Fox Sports was planning to seek more than $5 million for 30 seconds of ad time during Super Bowl LI, according to reports. Last year's Buick ad led to a 25% bump in traffic on Edmunds.com pages for the brand's lineup, which was tied for third among automotive brands that advertised in the game.

Publicist Groupe's EngageM-1 is handling the spot. The entity was formed in June when the Detroit offices of Leo Burnett and DigitasLBi were combined into a single unit to handle the GM account. The shop also oversees the GMC brand, which is currently in creative agency review.

Molly Peck, Buick's marketing director, said: "We're excited to showcase Buick again in front of a large audience that only the Super Bowl can provide; we're a growing brand and in fact, 47% of customers came to Buick from other brands outside of GM in 2016. The Super Bowl is the ideal place to showcase the new Buick line-up and continue to reach new consumers.

Buick joins Mercedes, Kia, Honda, Audi and Lexus as auto brands that have confirmed ad buys in the game. Last year nine auto brands ran a total of 12 spots in the game.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz

Nick Bunkley is a reporter for Automotive News.