GM Inside News Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
GM team delivers pizazz into Buick, Pontiac marketing
Ad stars sharpen image of brands
Ed Garsten / The Detroit News
Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News

DETROIT - Coming to the small screen in June is a big-budget, full-length movie starring Dennis Hopper ... and a passel of Pontiac GTOs.

So much for traditional 30-second or one-minute commercials to sell cars and trucks.

The GTO's star turn in the film "The Last Ride" is part of a three-month-old effort by General Motors Corp. to rev up marketing at its Pontiac, Buick and GMC brands.

A new team led by advertising wunderkind C.J. Fraleigh is looking to cut through the clutter and highlight vehicle attributes such as power, performance and amenities.

"The marketing will be sharper, some advertising messages will change," Fraleigh said.

Fraleigh, 40, made his name by helping GM turn around its once-inert Cadillac division. A combination of edgy new products and the use of music by hard rockers Led Zeppelin in commercials has helped convert Cadillac's image from has-been to hip.

On Feb. 1, Fraleigh moved to Buick and Pontiac-GMC as the division's general manager. He was joined by Jim Bunnell, 48, a former Pontiac executive who spent the last half decade running GM's Northeast region.

While GMC's lineup of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles is delivering sales and profits, Pontiac remains a work in progress. GM is repositioning the brand to focus on its performance image.

"A couple of times in our history we fell off that path," Bunnell said. "We're taking Pontiac back to its roots, its true performance, not only straight line acceleration but great handling and a true driver's environment."

Pontiac's advertising tag line "Fuel for the Soul" will be retained for now, but Fraleigh and Bunnell are looking to bring home the brand's performance image in a bigger way, hence the made-for-television movie "The Last Ride."

The movie debuts in June on USA Network and features several generations of the iconic muscle car.

Pontiac vehicles are also getting exposure on several cable television networks through the end of the month on what is essentially a 30-minute long commercial titled "Secrets of the Stuntmen."

Positive buzz over the G6, which replaces the Grand Am this fall, and the 2006 Solstice, a two-seat convertible, has put Pontiac on an upward trajectory.

Sales are up 13.3 percent this year on strong demand for the Grand Am, Grand Prix and Vibe.

Buick is another story. Sales are off 4.8 percent this year. The recasting of the brand as an American luxury marque on a par with Toyota's Lexus marque begins in earnest with the upcoming LaCrosse, which replaces the Century and Regal.

"(Buick) takes things one step further," Fraleigh said. "One step further and one step better. How we're going to bring that to life hasn't been decided."

There will not be any direct comparisons with Lexus or any other competitive brands in Buick advertising, Fraleigh said. Instead, ads will focus on "quietness and premium of ride."

"Buick is trying to get slightly younger but trying to move slightly more upscale," said Jeff Brodoski, an analyst with J.D. Power and Associates.

"But you have to be very calculated, and Buick has to take time and investment to do it and not just try to throw a brand new Buick at everybody right away."



Full Uncut Article Here
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm looking forward to seeing how Fraleigh can help the tattered image of Pontiac and revive it into a performance icon that even the youth market, and not just white hairs pining for their old GTOs and 1960's musclecars, can respect.

I'd also like to see Buick become a brand again that upper middle class people aspire to own, not get stuck with at the airport rental counter.

If anyone can do it, its the guy who along with the help of superior product took the Cadillac image and helped reshape it.

I guess the question then becomes:

Cadillac has the CTS, the SRX, and the upcoming STS.

What earth-shattering, hot and new product will Pontiac and Buick offer?

A Cadillac-like turnaround won't be had on the backs of a restyled Grand Prix and restyled Malibu - and a pair of CSV's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,860 Posts
My initial impression of C.J. Fraleigh is positive; if you watch the NY Auto Show enveiling of the Velite, C.J. makes a fairly candid assessment of Buick's present woes and what needs to be done to turn the division around. How refreshing. That he played a role in Cadillac's renaissance is something until now unknown to me and more of a reason to have faith that the rebirth of GM's near-luxury division won't just be all smoke and mirrors (and Terraza's!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
372 Posts
Between Lutz, Fraleigh, and Nesbitt, GM's last few large hires are really paying off for them. I am chomping at the bit for Pontiac to become a much bigger priority at GM. I hope they bring Pontiac into the light that I see it in, the single sportiest american car marque in existence.

Pontiac has the new Solstice, the GTO, and the G6, which coincide nicely with the new three from Cadillac. With the new GXP line, and whatever they choose to replace the Sunfire (a performance division without a tuner platform makes no sense), Pontiac will have the products, they just need the marketing to instill the "excitement" in everyone else, so that when they think affordable sports car, they think Pontiac first. I think a celebrity known for driving films would go a long way with an endorsement here. It would be hard, since only Paul Walker comes to mind as a true, unabashed car nut. Maybe Nick Cage, but he's too big a star for this. There aren't any stars out there that are really known for driving movies anymore, but that would help.

And sliding cars through the desert is cool, but it's too Mazda, Pontiac needs it's own image. The last commercial I liked from Pontiac is the Trans Am commercial where the TA pulls up behind this car at an intersection, and when the light goes green the camera zips through the intake and exhaust system and out the tailpipe, showing a half eaten car as all thats left as teh TA peels away. Then the words "The musclecar lives. The Trans Am, from Pontiac"

Great stuff, we need more of this!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
They don't need fancy marketing. My suggestion is real simple. Stop overpricing the products. Nobody will pay $35-$40K for a Bonneville. I love the car but its a $25K car. The Acura TL, Infiniti line etc. are so much more car for the money.

The newer Buicks, Ranier, Rendezvoux Ultra and Supercharged Park Ave, are $40-lage as well. Too many choices of better value. Why play the rebate games. Just price it right from the get-go. Marketing-101 stuff. That's how Lexus did it.

Undercut the competition until your product can command the premium. Look at what Chrysler is doing with their new products. Lowering the price and raising the quality works better than any commercial. Word of mouth is where its at.

When GM learns this lesson they will reap the rewards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
469 Posts
My dream car from Pontiac would be A RWD GTP. I love that blower whine. I have emailed GM several times telling them how cool a RWD GTP would be. Maybe they look at these forums. So just in case they do. GM SHOULD BUILD A RWD GTP. :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,621 Posts
Originally posted by garyw@May 12 2004, 06:05 PM
Nobody will pay $35-$40K for a Bonneville. I love the car but its a $25K car. The Acura TL, Infiniti line etc. are so much more car for the money.

Undercut the competition until your product can command the premium. Look at what Chrysler is doing with their new products. Lowering the price and raising the quality works better than any commercial. Word of mouth is where its at.
can't fault your argument, and maybe you were just trying to make a point, but $25,000 for a bonneville? yowza! that's a bit of a stretch. but you use chrysler as a good example (i assume you're talking about the new 300). assuming it holds up quality-wise over the next few yars, GM (and all others) will have to answer to such an affordable powerhouse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,845 Posts
Originally posted by garyw@May 12 2004, 01:05 PM
They don't need fancy marketing. My suggestion is real simple. Stop overpricing the products. Nobody will pay $35-$40K for a Bonneville. I love the car but its a $25K car. The Acura TL, Infiniti line etc. are so much more car for the money.
The Bonneville GXP needs to up the quality of it's interior (NAV, stereo, color treatments,) to compete with the likes of the Acura TL. The prince should NOT be any more than 35 grand. Would it hurt Cadillac if the Bonneville could get some real wood and chrome inside the car?
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top