Buick Channels Pinterest for New Design

Pinterest has increasingly become the design template of choice for brands looking to channel the visual Web.

Brands are moving beyond “Pin it to Win it” contests that force people to pin brand-related images to brand-related boards to win silly prizes–see Pepsi Next’s Super Bowl Pinterest contest. Brands are getting a bit more creative with how they use the visual social network and are learning to work with established, popular Pinterest users. For example fashion and lifestyle brand Calypso chose fashion blogger Christina Martinez to travel to St. Barths and created island-inspired Pinboards for the brand.

General Motoros brand Buick is the latest to enlist the help of well-known bloggers on Pinterest. With the help of its agencies Digitas and Mullen, Buick created a “Pinboard to Dashboard” contest for its 2013 Buick Encore. Buick selected 10 influential design, fashion and food bloggers to create pinboards on Pinterest showcasing how the new Buick Encore spoke to their personal design tastes and their lifestyles. The winner’s pinboard would be used as the inspiration for the Buick design team.

“Pinterest is important to Buick because 71 percent of Pinterest’s nearly 25 million users are under the age of 45 and 50 percent are 25-44, an important market for the all-new Buick Encore,” explained Phil Colley, assistant manager of Buick product communications. “Plus, according to a recent Bizrate Insights study, 70 percent of Pinterest users say they use the site to get shopping inspiration.”

Five finalists were selected from the original 10 based on the online reaction to their pinboards and input from the Buick design and marketing teams.  Buick created an online lookbook of the five finalists on its Tumblr page. Buick with the help of 20 lifestyle editors who from publications and media companies like Lucky, Oprah, Woman’s World, Essence, Uptown, Good Housekeeping, The Huffington Post and She Knows selected Michael Wurm Jr., whose site Inspired by Charm has nearly 4 million followers on Pinterest, as the winner.

Wurm. Jr.’s winning Pinboard features lots of yellow, aqua and turquoise as its cheerful, vintage-feeling palette. His pins included images of pickup trucks in the outdoors and vintage Buicks. There were also recipe pins and culture-related pins, like ones of Adele and Taylor Swift.

This is a good example of a brand harnessing Pinterest’s visual power in a cool way that actually inspires a brand’s product design.

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