Thursday, June 30, 2005

Buick Blech.

originally uploaded by wily.
Buick is not just a car company anymore.


I remember back when Buick WAS "just a car company."

Don't you?

Remember driving by the grayed out Buick lots and how depressed they made you feel? Remember meeting your first Buick salesperson? Remember their ashen skin, their sunken eyes, their dragging gate? Remember the way they'd shake your hand just a little too long - their pleading looks, their sallow faces that seemed to beg for something but couldn't quite express what?

Remember the Buick cars? Remember how your energy - even optimism for life itself - seemed to pool in your feet and threaten to leak out as a clear, waxy pus whenever you rode in one? Remember how your head would feel stuffy and your memory seemed to be hazy even after the shortest of rides?

Remember the Buick showrooms - you know, the ones lit by bare incandescent bulbs in moldy basements?

Remember the Buick car ads? Do you recall the one where the bland family gets into their new Buick station wagon and cries? That's all they do...cry.

Remember when Buick was "just a car"?

On the surface, this web-ad is designed to entice the consumer-crowd that Buick is becoming a vehicle manufacturer that sells SUT/SUV/Minivan type vehicles.

But the underlying message is this - "You've ignored Buick before because it wasn't noteworthy. But now, since we've departed from what Buick was, Buick is better!"

Read between the lines - Buick is a brand in search of an identity.

It's rather surprising that Buick let this ad out at all. It's demeaning to current Buick owners and solidly positions the new product line as an after-thought.

In all fairness, Buick could have made this idea work - at least better.

Instead of the negative comparison and overly-optimistic hope-mongering, Buick could have said something like -

Three new SUV's worthy of the Buick name.

Groceries to Grandparents, in Buick style.

The Buick family is growing, just like yours.

Instead, Buick chooses to dis itself and its customers.

A while ago, Oldsmobile brought out, "This is not your father's Oldsmobile."

It insulted dad.

It made growing old sound bad.

Dad's Oldsmobile could have been a darned good car (the 442 was pretty cool, too).

I'm smelling a GM downsize of another brand.

PLEASE don't let it be Pontiac (Pontiac still has a Brand).

Take Buick.

They're just a car company.