Buick may have a reputation as being the car for the, ah, more mature set, but the division is vigorously working the crowd on the Internet, the so-called medium of choice for the young, hip and educated.
In fact, Buick is throwing a contest and giving away coupons on the Net, betting this game of chance will draw thousands into its dealerships and deliver thousands of names to Buick's database.
From March 17 through May 1, Buick is giving away a car a day if a consumer is lucky enough to match a certain game piece with a piece held by a dealer.
Game pieces are available via the Internet by giving your name, address and phone number at the Buick Web site (www.Buick.com). Those who are less Internet-savvy can enter the contest by phoning a toll-free number - (877) WIN-A-Car. Game pieces also will be available in newspapers and magazines and at Buick dealerships.
Contestants who test drive a Buick are eligible for a second chance at a game piece.
Other prizes include 100 Gateway computers and 100 yearlong memberships on Gateway.net, an Internet service that includes full access to the World Wide Web, e-mail and 24-hour technical support.
In addition, Buick offers a $500 coupon toward buying or leasing a Regal through GM BuyPower, the Internet program through which shoppers can get information on all GM vehicles, dealerships and financing.
Consumers can request the coupon at www.gmbuypower.com, and Buick will mail it to them. There is no set end date for this offer.
"We (Buick) plan to own the Internet" when it comes to new ideas, boasts John Wray, public relations manager for McCann-Erickson, Buick's advertising agency.
In yet another Net effort, during a five-week period between Dec. 28 and Feb. 2, Buick raised about $100,000 for various charities. One winning bidder for either a Century or a Regal in each of those five weeks was awarded a 30-minute chat with one of five celebrities - movie and TV actors Dustin Hoffman, Anthony