Kristen Rubi leads the BENlabs product placement team representing General Motors. She and her team secure on-screen moments for GM's Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands.
Sam Gentry is Assistant Advertising Manager for Buick and oversees social, digital and content partnerships for the brand.
Q: What is the message that Buick is trying to convey with their marketing?
A: Our number one job and messaging for Buick is combating false familiarity. Buick has a pretty good awareness amongst consumers within the US market and within some sub-segments of the Hispanic market in America. But, across the board, we are really trying to change the perception of what a Buick is, what the Buick brand represents. We do that through a lot of feature-specific content, really trying to show the great technologies and features that our products offer. This helps us combat the perception that this is a traditional sedan and really reinforces the premium positioning through the tangibleness of features.
Product placement is really important to us as we seek to address that sense of false familiarity. Really being able to create a meaningful integration with media that relevant to our target audience. We see branded entertainment product placement as a great channel for that – being able to hone in on and anticipate what our audiences will be watching, align with characters that we feel are good representation, and align with the brand.
Q: Why use product placement to help with that messaging?
A: Product placement is a compelling opportunity for Buick specifically because we have been able to prioritize feature messaging in our communications. For instance, when someone is using the hands-free power tailgate, you get a better understanding of how it works better than just hearing someone describing it or really quickly in an ad with no context. I think this is particularly compelling for automotive.
Q: Do you think product placement helps you reach your desired audience?
A: Product placement reaches the audience in a way that social media or even a TV commercial campaign just can’t really offer. It’s a more long-form medium, one with a higher level of emotional investment with the audience than anything we could conceivably produce ourselves.
And while that Buick may be on the screen for about 30 seconds total, we see it as a really good fit for our audience and a good investment of our marketing dollars just to be able to forge that relationship.
Q: How do you see the future of streaming and product placement?
A: One of the really interesting things we want to watch in this space is the predominance of non-English language content on streaming, whether dubbed or with subtitles. The popularity of these huge international shows presents a really unique opportunity, particularly when you think about the global scope of General Motors for opportunities.
Q: How has BENlabs helped with these marketing initiatives?
A: Working with BENlabs has definitely helped us by being able to collaborate on the placements themselves within the big international streamers that have a presence in the US, Mexico, and other Latin American markets. They have worked with our marketing team in Mexico to secure vehicles and show more trackable visibility into the metrics that matter to help us make some of these decisions.