You might remember a short while back we reported that Shaquille O’Neal was doing ads for Buick that showed potential customers that even his lumbering 7 foot 1 super rich frame could easily and comfortably fit behind the wheel of a 2012 Buick LaCrosse sedan. Now, we already like the latest and very up to date line-up of Buick sedans and SUVs but apparently this unfairly overlooked GM brand wants new car buyers to not only notice its existence but also think it’s cool. Yes, we said cool.
Now, one of the coolest movies in recent memory had to be Quentin Tarantino’s classic “Pulp Fiction” and despite many larger than life co-stars, there is no doubt that Ving Rhames with his portrayal of tough guy Marcellus Wallace stole that film out from under John Travolta and Bruce Willis. Ever since, Mr. Rhames has made quite a nice career out of playing the very, very bad guy.
Flip that notion on its head and you might just find yourself looking at Buick’s reputation which has seemingly always been that of the “nice” brand but never really all that edgy. Few people know that Buick had a reputation for high performance decades ago under the GM umbrella but years of dull yet reliable family cars and station wagons helped people forget that.
But now it’s 2012 and the Buicks now on offer are not the same as your grandparents rusted out Buick Skylark. This entry level luxury brand probably competes most directly with Acura and has in the past few years revitalized its entire vehicle lineup with models like the Opel based Regal, the exemplary LaCrosse, hot selling Enclave 7-passenger SUV and the upcoming Encore compact luxury SUV. In a just world, there is little doubt that luxury buyers should at least be cross shopping at their Buick dealership even against Mercedes or Lexus.
So will these ads help? Here’s a synopsis and we’ll let you decide. In one 30 second spot starring Mr. Rhames, he walks into a Buick dealership looking to pick up a new Buick Enclave and as he approaches the salesperson he gruffly demands free OnStar, XM satellite radio and two years of free oil changes. As one would expect, the car salesman agrees to Mr. Rhames demands which the Hollywood star thought he gained through fear and intimidation. But much to the chagrin of Ving’s ego, a little boy then asks for the same thing for his mom’s new Buick and he gets the same treatment.
So apparently the message here is that you don’t have to be a serious tough guy like Ving Rhames was in “Pulp Fiction” to get luxury features and A-List treatment at your local Buick dealer. But with Shaq and now Ving Rhames doing Buick’s advertisements we do have to wonder—who will they tap next to elevate their cool quotient? Stay tuned to this column because as soon as we know, you’ll know.