It’s the holiday season, which means it’s the time of year to drag out that one dusty playlist that you save for a few weeks every December and play seven songs on repeat until you and your family have gone mad. If you’re looking for more jingles, we’ve got you covered! First up – wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?
Buick has always been an interesting division of General Motors in my eyes, in that I’ve never personally recognized who they’re… for, exactly. They’ve had some exciting cars off and on – notably, the late-80s Grand National – but the brand has seemingly always focused on style and serenity over anything.
We’ve seen those two concepts brought to the forefront lately. QuietTuning was introduced across their lineup in 2008 starting with the Enclave SUV and persists today. When other GM brands were killed off in the summer of 2009, Buick was one that survived, thanks to China’s obsession with the brand and its designs.
I recently drove the all-new 2024 Buick Envista Avenir, which replaces the gawky Encore subcompact crossover, and is indeed a total style play. It’s not the fastest, it’s not the most capable, but it’s a good value and looks fantastic for a car priced in the mid-$20k range. Stay tuned for a full video review of the Envista, but in the meantime, let’s turn back our collective calendars to 1965.
Yes, 58 years ago appears to be the first iteration of the “Wouldn’t You Really Rather Have a Buick” jingle. Likely performed here by jingle-singer (yes, that’s a profession) Linda November, this was recorded in 1965 on 16-millimeter film with the jingle itself being used throughout the late ’60s and early 1970s in commercials.
Buick’s focus on panache is seen here in this ad for the 1966 Buick Riviera. The narrator compares the car to what Italians love, saying they, too, now have a foreign car to admire. This Riviera supposedly hails from the “stunning slopes of Flint Michigan” and brings “a dash of Yankee practicality” with its style.
Beyond just making the cars quiet, Buick focused on technology. In the early 1980s, that was visualized by digital dashboards and electronic fuel injection. Those were indeed big deal items at the time, but I had to laugh at this ad for the 1983 Buick Century. GM’s marketing team couldn’t have predicted quite where we are now, but the bold claim that “there’s one thing technology will never replace – the sheer pleasure of driving a Buick” seems so quaint, given the very same parent company now produces pickup trucks that will let you tow a trailer down the interstate with your hands in your lap.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act passed in 1974, which finally barred nonsensical discrimination by lenders based on many factors – including gender. The late ’70s and early 1980s saw more of a focus on women buying their own vehicles, including this spot for the 1984 Buick Regal with a woman stepping out on her own to pick her own car! For some reason, she let the guys pick the color.
On to 1985, and if you think interest rates are bad now, they were worse then. This commercial from 1985 focuses on the just-facelifted A-Body Buick Century. Buick claimed driving a new Century was “one of the rewards you get from playing the game and winning,” though “winning” came with a 7.7-percent APR on your loan.
Finally, we move on to 1986, where the future was still bright and “better’s here to stay, yeah!” Here Buick focused on much of their lineup, showing happy people with teased hair alongside the Century, Somerset, Skylark, and Buick’s J-Body, the Skyhawk. J-cars were best known as the Chevy Cavalier and Pontiac Sunbird-later-Sunfire, though at the time, Buick and Cadillac also had examples of their own – hey, Cimmaron!
Buick’s long-running slogan-turned-song was finally wound down in the mid-1990s, as the brand’s focus shifted. The great American road belonged to Buick for a period, and then a series of safety- and serenity-focused slogans took over from there. And now, they’re back to style and technology, with vehicles that are “so you.”
Hopefully I’ve succeeded in getting this pleasant little jingle stuck in your head for a few hours. Have a great Monday, y’all.