Buick Talks Tech In New Campaign For EAssist

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Who keeps moving their legs when they are standing still? Besides maybe boxers, exercise enthusiasts, unicyclists and people standing on a hot tin roof -- nobody. So why should a car keep spinning its cam shaft and burning gas when it's not moving? That's a key message for Buick in a new campaign that touts the General Motors division's new eAssist drivetrain technology.

The feature, available initially in the 2012 Lacrosse and Regal sedans, mates a compact electric motor and lithium-ion battery to a 2.4L four-cylinder Ecotec engine. The automaker says the technology boosts fuel economy by 25%.

The campaign, via Leo Burnett's Detroit office, spotlights the fact that eAssist allows drivers to shift to electric power and back while stopped. The first TV spot, which has just launched, centers on the notion, "You don't keep running while you're stopped, so why should your car engine?" Creative shows an assortment of Monty Python-like scenarios in which people are running in place while getting married, going to the opera and drinking coffee.

The agency's executive creative director, Steve Chavez, says the technology gives Buick opportunities to talk tech and spotlight the rebirth of the Buick brand. "eAssist is something of a calling card for the luxury space. In the luxury space technology is the cost of entry; this is our greatest focus over the fourth and first quarter." The campaign also calls out the 36 mpg that Lacrosse gets with eAssist.

To that end, Buick will roll out an advertising unit in Wired magazine's iPad iteration that looks at first blush like a static ad that asks if it's possible for a full-sized sedan to go 36 miles on a gallon of gasoline. Chavez explains, however, that when an iPad user flips the virtual page of Wired the ad comes to life as the Lacrosse travels a real 36 miles on one gallon of gas -- albeit a compressed journey, as it were, within the confines of two digital magazine pages. He says the agency is filming an actually road trip for the execution.

Buick will also be back in the Wired Store, a pop-up store and exhibition in New York, where Buick will feature the Lacrosse with eAssist along with explorations on automotive technology under the hood of the car.

The campaign will include print, per Chavez, who adds that the TV buy will heavy up on college sports. In March the automaker signed a partnership with Turner Sports and CBS Sports around men's basketball and, more recently, with Fox Sports Media Group including the Bit Ten Network to tout Buick Human Highlight Reel, about community work by former student-athletes.

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