Buick Saddles Up on Movie, TV Screens

DETROIT General Motors’ Buick division is aligning itself with horse racing in both a movie promotion deal and an agreement with NBC Sports, a GM representative said.

The division will co-promote Universal Pictures’ Seabiscuit, a movie about the popular Depression-era horse that premieres July 25. Two new 30-second Buick spots from McCann-Erickson, Troy, Mich., featuring scenes from the film broke May 3 during the Kentucky Derby telecast. The ads continue a campaign launched last fall that presented legendary GM designer Harley Earl and the tagline: “Buick. The spirit of American style.”

GM has also struck a deal with NBC Sports, which positions Buick as the exclusive automotive advertiser of thoroughbred racing’s premier series, the Visa Triple Crown.

The new deals complement Buick’s long-standing relationship with golf, including its sponsorship of the PGA Tour, said Michael Hand, Buick’s advertising and promotions manager. “Both these partnerships are natural extensions of Buick’s premium positioning,” he said in a statement. Buick’s five-year deal with Tiger Woods continues through 2004.

Financial terms of either partnership were not disclosed. GM spent about $160 million on Buick advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.