Buick, Tiger Take Viral Route

DETROIT In a spot that’s gaining attention and reviews on YouTube before it hits the airwaves, iconic automaker Buick is either a). gaining some viral marketing savvy, or b). hurting for security, as someone breached the automaker’s closed set at a commercial shoot featuring Tiger Woods the other day.

Buick would like you to think b., but a. is correct.

The carmaker shot and posted the 60-second video Thursday on Youtube, and by Friday morning, it was ranked No. 8 in views for the “Spots in English” category. Several auto blogs were also packed with comments on the posting, many doubting that it was anything other than an inside, Buick-approved deal.

The video shows the PGA ace and longtime Buick pitchman taping a spot for the 2007 Buick Enclave crossover.

The footage is grainy, the camera unsteady, and it gives viewers a brief shot of the vehicle due to be released next year.

“Everything about the creates style. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen anything like it on the road,” Woods says during one take.

“Conquest on the golf course is my game,” Woods manages to get out on the next take before being interrupted by a blatting, flatulent airplane engine overhead.

“Excuse me,” Woods says to all-around chuckles.

At the end of the neatly timed video, a burly security man looks at the camera, stage-whispers, “Hey, what are you doing?” and reaches for the lens as the shot ends.

Click here to see the video.

“The goal was to get people talking, not just on YouTube but on the auto blogs,” said Dave Darovitz, Buick’s communications manager. “We engineered the spot on the PR side and worked with marketing to create this disruptive approach to get the word out about the Enclave and to get Tiger involved.”

YouTube viewers knew from the start it was a set-up: “Viral marketing at it’s finest,” claimed one poster. “FAKE,” another opined.

Buick spent more than $100 million on ads through the first three quarters of 2006 after spending about $160 million last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.