Buick Doesn't Need To Go Down The 'Not Your Father's Oldsmobile' Road

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If you're Buick, you're working hard to remind people you're not GM's Century and LeSabre division anymore. While the sales show success, the image isn't quite there yet. So they've resorted to an ad strategy that's reminiscent of another GM division trying to shake off an old image.

The ad is poorly titled "Hmm," but it's actually mostly full of young people being impressed with new Buicks. In that respect, it strikes up a "Have you driven a Ford, lately?" feeling.


The problem, though, comes five seconds into the ad when an old woman with presumably her grandson who just bought a Buick Regal, probably their most attractive car right now. She resurfaces about 15 seconds later with her neighbor.

We get it, these aren't the Buicks of old, they're cooler. But it gets very close to coming off as desperate. At least they didn't employ Ringo Starr and his family.

Ringo just had to say, "This is not your father's Oldsmobile."

Even for a '90s ad for a Cutlass Supreme, it's hopelessly corny. The long-term damage was said to be with the fact it alienated existing Oldsmobile buyers. Worst of all, it screamed that Olds was desperate to be cool again. And we saw how that turned out.


Unlike Olds, Buick has a strong lineup now. And it's very true, these aren't your grandparents' Buicks – most of them are your German relative's Opels. For the most part, there's substance here. Lincoln is doing something similar by actively going after Lexus ES comparisons. That's a better route if you're trying to change perceptions.

If it weren't being compared against an infamous campaign also made by Leo Burnett, this Buick ad may not have struck up such comparisons. Or maybe it's good to bring up the similarities now so future ads don't go this way. Buick can't go under. We're still waiting on an Opel Adam available through their dealerships.