New Buick Tagline: "The New Class of World Class"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Huh? Buick has not only lost the plot, they’ve lost the title of the book. Automotive News [sub] reports that GM’s uh, something brand, is changing its tagline. Again. You may recall that Buick changed its tagline in June. As in just over three months ago. Sure, that tagline sucked. As we pointed out at the time, “ Take a look at me now” is/was a po-faced echo of a Phil Collins song about unrequited love destroying the piner. Our Best and Brightest suggested alternatives, none of which included “The new breed of first class.” Buick’s choice manages the virtually impossible: it’s worse than the existing tagline.

As any scientist or schoolchild or former schoolchild will tell you, a class is a set, collection, group, or configuration containing members regarded as having certain attributes or traits in common. So Buick is introducing a new class within world class? What the hell does that mean?

And remember: I’m trying to understand it. Your casual car buyer has about as much chance of remembering “the new class of world class” as they do the quadratic formula. Probably less. GM Ad Czar and TTAC race track competitor Maximum Bob Lutz calls the new Buick advertising “aggressive stuff.” I’m going with “jabberwocky.”

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Argentla Argentla on Sep 16, 2009

    @ psarhjinian and BDB: I think the important thing to remember is that there's a huge divide between the divisional management (which is responsible for sorting out what products they offer, within the bounds the corporation sets on them) and senior management (which decides if the brands live or die). GM history is littered with examples of the divisions trying to do stuff that's interesting and occasionally even cool, only to have the 14th floor fight them every step of the way. Part of the issue is that the division people are generally engineers, while the senior decision-makers are accountants. Once upon a time, the idea was that the chairman would be an accountant and the president/COO an engineer, but over the years, the finance guys' power has increased disproportionately. It's not uncommon for the managers of the division to have strong and sometimes quite astute ideas about what they should do, only to be denied the tools to follow up. For example, in the early 80s, Cadillac wanted a smaller car to appeal to BMW buyers. What the corporation gave them was the J-body, and then denied them enough money to give it more than a cursory cosmetic makeover. The Cimmaron was not what Leonard Wanetik (the product planner responsible for the project) had in mind; it was what the finance guys made of his original idea.

  • Reclusive_in_nature Reclusive_in_nature on Sep 17, 2009

    "Fuck what your friends think." That'd work nicely.

  • Njoneer Njoneer on Sep 17, 2009

    "Buick: The relentless pursuit of a new tagline"

  • Beken Beken on Sep 17, 2009

    Buick: The Cadillac of....oh nevermind.