GM to Expand Woods’ Ad Role

DETROIT General Motors has decided that Tiger Woods is bigger than Buick, and would be using the golfer/pitchman to flog its OnStar security and navigation systems.

A Buick representative said Friday that Woods would remain “primarily the face of Buick,” but his role would expand in the GM portfolio.

“The relationship with Buick will not change or end,” said the rep, David Darovitz. “But we are making him work a little harder.”

Woods appears in a current OnStar ad with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Kelly Ripa of the morning show Regis and Kelly.

Kimmel has been active in promoting GM’s Pontiac brand, weaving references into his show and partnering with GM for the Pontiac Garage, a series of outdoor concerts in Hollywood.

A GM rep would not rule out Woods promoting other GM brands, saying “there are no plans to do that at this point, but that could change.”

Woods began endorsing Buick in 1999, and recently signed a deal for an undisclosed sum that will keep him under contract through 2009.

He has been active most recently in ads for the Enclave, and was also on hand at the Los Angeles Auto Show last fall to formally introduce the new crossover.

The Enclave, which went on sale in April, is Buick’s newest product and the brand is banking heavily on its success as it hones its number of models. Buick changed its ad tagline for the Enclave campaign to “Drive beautiful” from “Beyond precision.”

Future marketing plans for the Enclave, which competes with the Lexus RX 350 and the Volvo XC90, include more presence in enthusiast magazines and in African-American markets, said Buick marketing chief Maria Rohrer.

And as for more Tiger?

“We aren’t sure yet … we are still developing further plans,” she told Brandweek.