GMC Launches Broadest Campaign in 15 Years

Truck Brand Focuses on Precision in Ads Breaking Tonight

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GMC will roll out its broadest advertising campaign in 15 years today, as General Motors seeks to raise awareness of its low-profile truck brand by polishing its reputation for craftsmanship.

The campaign, dubbed "Precision," will begin tonight with a 60-second TV commercial that will run during an episode of ABC's murder mystery series "Secrets and Lies." It's the first of three new TV spots that will run throughout 2015, along with digital, social media and print content.

It will be the first campaign to feature GMC's entire lineup since the 2000 debut of the brand's tag line: "GMC: We Are Professional Grade." The tagline will be incorporated into the new advertising, created by Leo Burnett, GMC's longtime agency of record.

"For discerning GMC customers, Professional Grade has evolved to mean exacting attention to detail and fine craftsmanship in everything they do and purchase," Buick-GMC VP Duncan Aldred said in a statement. "Precision is a core attribute of the brand and is reflected in GMC's continued momentum."

GMC has been on a roll thanks to a revitalization of its truck lineup, including recent redesigns of the full-size Sierra pickup and Yukon SUV, and a new Canyon midsize pickup. Sales last year grew 11%, to 501,853, raising its market share to 3%, from 2.9% a year earlier.

Still, Mr. Aldred, who took over a year ago as GMC's top executive, sees big growth potential for the brand. He is happy with GMC's positioning as a premium truck marque, buoyed by the success of its Denali top-trim models. But he believes better marketing can draw more non-GM buyers,

"The hard bit is breaking through and getting people to recognize" the brand, he told Automotive News last fall.

GMC's recent success has come despite a relatively modest marketing budget. Aldred has said that GMC's under-the-radar identity appeals especially to buyers of the Denali models, which account for roughly 20% of sales.

The commercial that debuts tonight will feature San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt, who earned the win in Game 7 of the team's World Series victory last year. The commercial alternates between shots of the lefty's fastball painting the corners of the plate with images of a GMC's French stitched leather seats and shiny mesh grille.

The theme, GM says, "is that the same precision and attention to detail applied by pro athletes and accomplished professionals translate to GMC engineers and designers."

Another commercial will feature the NBA's Harrison Barnes, small forward for the league-leading Golden State Warriors. A third will apply the precision theme to men's fashion. All three spots will be set to the song "Eminence Front" by The Who.

--Mike Colias is a reporter for Automotive News

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