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Golf Ads Poke Fun at ‘Itty-Bitty’ Austin Mini
DETROIT–General Motors’ Buick division is taking its 40-year marketing relationship with golf to a new level with TV spots specifically focusing on the sport.
The first of two 30-second spots featuring three pro golfers sponsored by Buick breaks Feb. 11 during the telecast of the Buick Invitational golf tournament. The first spot will air on ESPN, USA and CBS during the tournament and later on other network golf telecasts. The campaign was created by McCann-Erickson, Troy, Mich., Buick’s national agency.
The campaign features Ben Crenshaw, Steve Elkington and David Berganio Jr. The fourth star of the ads is an “itty-bitty” car–actually a debadged Austin Mini. The first spot, “Scotland,” shows the three struggling to get from one golf course to another, including historic St. Andrews, because they are driving such a tiny vehicle instead of a real car like a Buick. Their comic frustrations play into Buick’s tagline: “Isn’t it time for a real car?”
Buick feels expanding its golf marketing allows it to reach younger consumers in a contemporary way without alienating its traditional base, said McCann representative John Wray.
The division is serious enough about the initiative to have created a new position: brand manager of Buick golf activities. Tony Derhake, Buick Century brand manager, takes on those additional duties.
The spots mark the first time another brand of car has appeared in a Buick ad, Wray said. Promotions will be tied to the tiny Mini, including a sweepstakes asking consumers to guess how many golf balls an “itty-bitty” car can hold compared to a Buick Century, Wray said.

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