Tiger Woods is second only to Michael Jordan in his prowess as a product endorser. He has associated his name with several products since arriving on the national sports scene in the mid 1990s, but one of Tiger’s most visible endorsements has been of General Motors’ Buick brand. His relationship with Buick seemed both appropriate and odd. The pair was appropriate because of an overlap between the target market characteristics for Buick and PGA Tour followers. The Tiger-Buick link seemed odd because Buick and golf are perceived as skewing toward older males, and here was a twenty-something “kid” endorsing an old guy’s brand. Turns out that the partnership worked for Buick as owner data indicates the average age of a Buick driver dropped from around 50 to 40 during the Tiger Woods-Buick era.
That era is coming to an end as Woods and Buick amicably part ways. Both sides are saying all the right things, but GM’s woeful financial picture has to have played a role in the decision to end the relationship. GM had already announced it would not be advertising during upcoming high profile events such as the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. Fortunately for GM, the positive effects of its association with Tiger Woods will likely carry over for a period of time following the end of his endorsement deal. While brand building needs are taking a hit at GM these days, the company is in a fight for survival first.
Link: Ad Age – “GM Ending Tiger Woods Endorsement Deal”