GM Boss Use Tiger More Creatively


BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- General Motors Corp. is thrilled that Tiger Woods will promote Buick for the next five years, but GM chairman Rick Wagoner says the automaker could make better use of the world's best-known golfer.
'I think he's a great strategic asset for the company,' Wagoner said Tuesday night as Woods and the rest of the U.S. team prepared for the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills. 'We need to use him better.'
Buick officials say that's exactly what they plan to do.
Wagoner said he liked last year's 'Tiger Trap' promotion, which featured four amateur golfers trying to win a closest-to-the-hole competition for a new Buick Rainier sport utility vehicle -- with Woods watching.
Buick used candid footage from the competition in its television and Web campaigns for the Rainier's launch. It marked Buick's biggest marketing effort with Woods.
'I thought that was a great use of him,' Wagoner said. 'Some of the other stuff probably has been a little more mixed, to be honest.'
Buick spokesman John Wray said Wednesday that television viewers can expect to see Woods 'in a different way' in upcoming advertisements.
Woods no longer will be paired with legendary GM designer Harley Earl, who died in 1969. GM said last month that Earl -- played by actor John Diehl in the commercials -- has been scrapped for a more product-focused theme.
Buick's latest advertisements will debut Sunday on ABC's Emmy Awards telecast, supporting the launch of the 2005 Buick LaCrosse, a premium midsize sedan.
Wray said Woods will appear in new ads later this year. He said the spots will offer a contrast to Woods' serious side on the golf course.
'When you bring Tiger and Buick together, you have an opportunity to show the lighter side of both,' Wray said.
Woods began representing Buick in 1999 and signed a five-year extension in February believed to be worth $40 million. Along with the series of commercials, Woods displays the Buick logo on his golf bag and serves as honorary chairman of the Buick Scramble, the world's largest amateur tournament.
Buick also is the largest title sponsor on the PGA Tour with four tournaments.
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