We can all agree that Buick has made great strides in revamping its image as a grandpa's car to more of a cool uncle's car. But that pesky average buyer's age isn't quite low enough, so Buick — like everyone else — is turning to social media to drive it down. Specifically with a series of well-choreographed Vines.
Like you, I cringe every single time I read (or write) a story about how car brands are appealing more to the millennials because of our "buying power" or whatever. Some tactics are pretty innovative, some are insane, many are desperate. With a full dose of skepticism, I trudged through this Automotive News piece on Buick's efforts:
Buick has long been identified with large, smooth-riding sedans that appeal to elderly buyers. But with a changing product mix that now includes a turbocharged sports sedan and a compact crossover, Buick is diversifying its marketing approach as well, venturing into advertising media that are popular with young, connected millennials, though not walking away from its core market or message.
One result was a collaboration with Zach King, a trick cinematographer who works in a medium called Vine, a smartphone app used to create and quickly share looping 6-second video snippets.
And now you know that Buick has a Vine account. Well, they've had one for awhile, and their early efforts weren't nearly as exciting as what's described above. Take this, for instance:
Oh man, is that Buick honey? I bet that's great on an English muffin! But the ones with King are actually pretty fun. Like this one:
And this one with Dick Vitale:
And this one:
That's a lot of creativity packed into six-second windows that definitely should be lauded, so kudos to King. And Buick definitely should get credit for exploring new territory; I don't think anyone was expecting Buick to dive head-first into Vine, the devil's playground for idle teenagers and 20-somethings with iPhones.
That said, Vine definitely fits more of the latter description than what I think Buick is aiming for here. Look, I'm not saying the Buick Vines are terrible. I'm just saying…is anyone going to go into a Buick dealer and say "hey, I saw that Vine of Dick Vitale recently. Do you have a Regal GS in silver?"
A lot of Vines trickle down my Twitter timeline daily, and they're usually in three categories: the "_____ be like"-type, where randoms elaborate on the complexities of human relationships with six-second commentaries or slapstick; on-camera slip-ups (lately punctuated with Dennis Edwards' "Don't Look Any Further"…yeah, I don't know either); and those that are borderline pornographic, if not outright pornographic.
Maybe I just need to follow more judicious Twitter users since I'm exposed to a lot of trashy Vines, but the moment I check one out, I move on immediately. Which is what Vine is for, in my opinion: Quick, of-the-moment laughs, and not a marketing gimmick.
Fear not if you're still wanting to get in on some Buick Vine action (their hashtag is #TheBuickZone): There's a handy-dandy guide on how to make a Vine from the AARP.