For the first time in 15 years, GMC will no longer just be “professional grade” as the brand begins fleshing its long-standing advertising pitch. The new campaign, which features three new ads, moves to elevate the visibility of the brand while helping to better define it.
Duncan Aldred, GMC vice president of sales and marketing, said the new campaign is part of a coordinated product and communication effort that will double GM’s investment in the GMC brand over the next decade and, hopefully, grow sales.
The product initiative will focus on the consumer side of the brand – including the luxury Denali sub-brand – rather than on the commercial side of the business, which had been GMC’s bailiwick prior to the truck and sport utility vehicle boom of the 1990s.
“I would rule anything out. But that’s lower down on our list of priorities,” Aldred told reporters during a luncheon meeting in Detroit. Aldred added GMC is looking at several ways in which it could expand its product portfolio. He offered nothing definite except to say the small and mid-range crossover segments offer ample opportunity for expansion.
“We’re at a 3 % marketshare now. We want to be at 4% in five years and 5% after 10 years,” Aldred said. “We have no intention of going outside the truck-crossover space.”
Part of the strategy includes putting more emphasis on the GMC’s Denali sub-brand, which accounts for one of every five GMC products that leave the showroom. Denali is a luxury brand within the GMC brand.
“We’re going to focus on the (luxury appeal) of Denali,” he said.
The initial wave of new investment by GMC will be in advertising, he added. GMC expects to spend 50% more on ads this year than it did last year as it rolls out a new 360-degree campaign that will include television, digital, print and outdoor executions.
People are recognizing this brand has been growing month by month over the last five years, he said. “February will continue that trend. We really are sitting on a success story. If you look at the last 12 months, we grew at twice the rate of the industry. We grew our average transaction prices faster than any other brand.
While GMC name is well-known not everyone knows what the brand stands for, Aldred added. The issue is how can GMC set itself apart in a really competitive segment, he added. “We’re going to get away from the clutter.”
Precision can be the difference between winning and losing, or that element that separates ordinary from a cut above. GMC today unveiled “Precision,” an advertising campaign promoting the brand’s relentless attention to detail, a foundational value for the brand.
“For discerning GMC customers, Professional Grade has evolved to mean exacting attention to detail and fine craftsmanship in everything they do and purchase,” Aldred said.
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“Fastball,” the first of three TV ads developed by GMC and agency-of-record Leo Burnett Detroit begins airing nationally in a 60-second ad on March 2. The ad’s underlying theme is that the same precision and attention to detail applied by pro athletes and accomplished professionals. Ultimately customers who demand superior execution in the products they purchase look for the same level of precision and craftmanship in their new vehicle.
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“Fastball” opens with a panoramic view of a packed ballpark. The scene shifts to San Francisco Giants left-handed relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt as he works the corners of the plate, a “Rembrandt” in baseball terminology. Striking out a batter is one thing; while painting the corners of the plate to strike out the batter elevates his craft to a higher level.
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Aldred said the “Professional Grade” tagline won’t disappear from GMC’s advertising. It will continue to be used with the context of the new campaign.