Buick Launches Verizon iPhone Gambit

There are plenty of iPhone fans who aren’t crazy about AT&T. Buick is hoping to capitalize on excitement around the iPhone finally coming to Verizon with an iPhone campaign crafted specifically for them.

The five-week campaign is running across a wide swathe of mobile sites and applications, including Word With Friends, Accuweather, Flightview, CBS, AOL, Mashable and Pandora. It’s promoting the  Buick Achievers scholarship fund.

“By being one of the first advertisers to this new iPhone customer, we expect the campaign to deliver a message greater than just that of the scholarship,” said Nick Richards, a Buick representative. “Rather, we anticipate the campaign will demonstrate Buick as a progressive company.”

That’s to say the General Motors brand is banking on a little PR lift for a mobile campaign. Estimates peg the number of Verizon iPhones sold this year to top 10 million, but no figures have been announced since the phone went on sale earlier this month.

Buick’s agency Starcom is planning the campaign, which runs through Millennial Media, the large-reach mobile ad network. Buick will have exclusivity on Millennial’s mobile inventory for Verizon iPhone users. The ads don’t mention they’re delivered specifically to Verizon iPhone users.

Marcus Startzel, svp of sales at Millennial, said that, while the tactic of targeting users who only have a certain carrier probably isn’t a harbinger of the future, the mass reach that brands can get through mobile is.

“They’re jumping in with both feet,” he said.

Buick is looking to mobile to buff up its image as a stodgy car brand. It’s run early campaigns that use Google’s mobile tech Goggles and sponsored the launch of The Wall Street Journal on the iPad. Buick also has a mobile app for iPhone and Android phones that lets users control the car’s remote start, locks, horn and lights.


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