Buick-GMC won't change what's working

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DETROIT — Phil Brook hit the ground running as U.S. vice president of marketing for Buick and GMC.

Since Brook took the position in April, GMC restructured its agency business and launched the redesigned 2018 Terrain with a new “Like a Pro” ad campaign, including the brand’s first anthem spot.

He’s also working on forthcoming ad campaigns for the redesigned Buick Regal and the Enclave, which launches Buick’s new Avenir subbrand.

Brook, 52, who previously headed the brands’ South Central region, has been with GM since 2004, mostly as part of the Holden unit in his native Australia, where he was director of marketing.

He spoke with Staff Reporter Michael Wayland during a media event in suburban Detroit for the Buick Enclave Avenir.

Q: How have the first six months been? What were the first priorities?

A: The first six months have been fantastic. It’s been crazy busy because we’ve had some fantastic new product to roll out. There’s been a lot of stuff happening in a very short period of time. … We want to go from good to great. That’s what we’re always looking to do.

Buick has been praised in recent years for its “Experience the New Buick” ad campaign. Will it continue?

A lot of marketing people come in and want to change lots of stuff. The last thing I want to do is to change — particularly the fundamentals and the things that are working really well.

That campaign will continue, but we’re looking to evolve it, make it better, make it more relevant. We think we’ve got some great ideas for Enclave. You’ll see those in the next couple of months [January for the Enclave, March for the Regal].

What was the theory behind “Like a Pro” for GMC? What have been the early reactions?

That was all about trying to add a bit more humanity into the brand. We’ve done a great job of explaining what’s great about our cars [with “We are Professional Grade”]. What we want to do is talk about the people who drive our cars and why there’s such a good fit between the cars and the people.

What we love about it is the flexibility. What we’ve got is holiday messages, different events, seasonal ideas. It’s infinitely flexible. We’re excited by it, but then again, the core principle is “We are Professional Grade.” That’s not going to go away. But we just see this as a really great platform to leverage that.

With you coming from Holden to the U.S., will Buick move more toward sportiness and performance?

That’s a very iconic brand in Australia, but Buick is a completely different story. It’s operating here in a different market with different customers, different positioning.

We’ve got to make sure what we do from a product perspective really lives up to where we want to position the brand.

So no, you won’t see any rear-wheel-drive utes with V-8s with Buick.

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