Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tiger, Buick a refreshing divorce

Just as Tiger was starting to convince us that we need a new Buick, the pair decides to separate in a split that was both "mutual and amicable," as described by a spokesman for GM. The partnership began in 2000 with Tiger starring in numerous Buick commercials and donning the Buick logo on his bag. And as an added bonus, Tiger also won many Buick-sponsored golf tournaments. But let's be honest, the Tiger and Buick were always an odd couple.

Tiger represents golf's new generation. Although he is a far cry from the swashbuckling, collar-popping likes of Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim, Tiger is the undisputed leader in golf's movement towards shedding its grandpa's game reputation. When Buick brought Tiger on 9 years ago, they were hoping to follow in golf's lead and rid themselves of their own geriatric reputation.

But Tiger's effect on Buick's image wasn't as profound as his effect on golf's image, and GM did nothing to give Tiger a helping hand. Not only did they keep the product line, they further depress their own brand with dismal vehicle names like Lucerne and Enclave. They obviously need more than Tiger's influence to attract new customers,as the company's demographic has hardly changed since 2000. Buick is still best represented by the 60-plus, stuffed-shirt country club man who can be found naked in the locker rooms of Anygreen CC, USA.

GM stands to save $7 million per year by severing ties with Tiger. GM also stands to get a large portion of the $25 billion purposed for the U.S. auto industry bailout plan, assuming the big three will be able to convince congress they need the loans some time in the next few days. The U.S. Treasury, however, will not be bailing Tiger out for the $7 million per year he's losing from GM. In the next few months, bidding wars will likely ensue to see who will be the next company emblem to rest on the shoulder of Steve Williams, the caddie who rests on the shoulder of Tiger. Maybe Nike will snatch it up, or maybe it will be a new branding altogether.

For now, check the time on your Tag Heuer watch, keep the Gatorade flowing, give your scruff a Mach 3 treatment and buy a Buick. GM clearly needs the money more than Tiger.

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