SBD/March 16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

GM Touting Buick Brand During NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Buick will spotlight former athletes' charitable work during tournament
GM is "again sponsoring the NCAA men's basketball tournament, letting its upscale Buick brand take the opening left when it killed its Pontiac brand after it sponsored" the '09 tourney, according to Chrissie Thompson of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The sponsorship of the tournament "came up for bid when Pontiac met its bankruptcy-era demise after the 2009 tournament." A new Buick marketing campaign, "sans tag line, debuts April 2" during the Final Four. GM said that it is "targeting two distinct upscale buyers with Buick and Cadillac." GM VP/U.S. Marketing Chris Perry said Buick will aim at buyers who want "to be part of the community, rather than above it." GM "wants Cadillac, in contrast, to appeal to individualistic customers who want to stand out in their pursuit of luxury." Thompson notes Buick is "playing to its customers' community interest through the Buick Human Highlight Reel, which will use the NCAA tourney sponsorship to spotlight former college athletes' charitable work" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/16). AD AGE's David Kiley noted Buick is "sponsoring post-game shows on Turner and CBS," as well as "content on NCAA official apps on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Foursquare." Buick also will "run model ads in game, on the web and on radio, especially for its newly redesigned Regal sedan." Buick VP/Marketing Tony DiSalle said he is expecting "over 1 billion ad impressions for the brand in the next three weeks" (ADAGE.com, 3/15).

CATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS: The Buick Human Highlight Reel launches at the beginning of the tournament, and a collection and archive of complete stories will appear online at www.ncaa.com/buick. Buick also will be the exclusive title sponsor of a 30-minute show featuring select Human Highlight Reel stories that will air prior to the Final Four games on April 2 (GM).
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