Today, GMC unveiled “Precision,” an advertising campaign theme that highlights the attention-to-detail perception of the brand. The cornerstone has really shown through and helped elevate the brand since the launch of the “Professional Grade” tagline 15 years ago. Which, by the way, is not going anywhere. Yet things may have come to a point where “Professional Grade” is no longer needed to be stressed during every thirty second spot any given Sunday.
“Precision” seems to come in as an effort to highlight GMC’s upmarket appeal with the Denali sub-brand. And rather than focusing on cutaway cab trucks and panel vans as history would suggest, GMC is targeting a five percent market share in the United States in the next 10 years, with 25 percent of those sales to encompass Denali models within the next three years. Denali is currently selling at 23 percent of all GMC sales volume in the United States, while ATP is growing at an annual pace that’s double the industry average — around a $3,000 increase year-over-year for Big Red. So if anything, a 25 percent sales target for Denali in three years should be easier than putting on an Old Glory t-shirt.
Yes, it appears the market has spoken, and with the Denali sub-brand getting ever-more popular, it seems the GMC brass has decided that it was time for the marketing department to answer.
As a part of today’s announcement, GMC is launching its first ad revolving around the “Precision” theme. “Fastball,” the first of three new Leo Burnett ads, which is part of the debut wave of the campaign, features San Francisco Giants left-handed relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt as “painting” corners of the strike zone with his pitches. Otherwise known as a “Rembrandt” in baseball terminology. Though while many MLB pitchers can strike out a batter, it’s the precision of Affeldt’s throws that makes him special. Just as the precise French stitching on the leather seat of a GMC Sierra Denali helps make the truck special. In the closing scene, the entire GMC showroom fleet is showcased — for the first time in an ad since the “Professional Grade” launch.
Following suit, the second ad, dubbed “Swish” portrays Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors, as he sends a ball clean through the hoop without touching the rim; another “Precision” metaphor that discerning buyers look for when scoping out a GMC product. The third ad, titled “Sharp,” will focus more on the fashion-oriented male buyer that can appreciate the attention to detail found in the likes of Denali vehicles.
The new marketing campaign and upcoming marketing efforts to follow in the near future represent roughly a 50 percent spending increase for the GMC marketing department, approved by the GM Board of Directors. And it doesn’t stop there, as Vice President of the GMC and Buick brands, Duncan Aldred, continued to hint at the storied truck and SUV brand exploring new segments, with the highest priorities being the ever necessary, high-selling compact and subcompact crossovers. Things like fleet work trucks and vans fall far lower on Aldred’s list, while pushing the Denali envelope remains fundamental. Whether or not a broader product portfolio will translate into rivals to some models offered by Jeep is still unknown, but that’s the general desire by SUV enthusiasts and automotive media alike. At any rate, GMC and Buick will have their annual dealers meeting in Las Vegas soon, and aims to “spell out” what’s happening and what’s to come.
Aldred also noted during a small press conference today that GMC also received more funding to grow its product portfolio, but don’t look for any all-new models to launch this year. However, there’s an expectation of a slightly updated 2016 GMC Terrain coming to the 2015 New York Auto Show.