Let's all be realistic for a cotton pickin' second. Does anyone really think that Tiger Woods has been driving a Buick for the last nine years? I'd bet his gardener, nanny, personal assistant, etc. may be driving them, but Tiger, no way. Too stodgy.
Susan Docherty, GM vice-president for Buick-Pontiac-GMC said in an email to dealers today, “It’s with great emotion that I wish to inform you that the time has come for our long term relationship with Tiger Woods to end.” On his end Woods issued the following statement, “I am very proud of the long-standing partnership I’ve had with GM and have enjoyed being a part of the company’s dramatic product evolution.’’ In other words, thanks for the memories.
Woods had one year remaining on a five-year deal worth $40 million, according to Advertising Age magazine. So, one less year cost him and saved GM eight million dollars. I don't expect Woods will have much of a problem replacing that endorsement money if he chooses. It seems like a pittance in savings on GM's part, but it's a statement of austerity that reflects the collapsing domestic automobile business and an effort to save money that GM sorely needs to portray as they pitch the corporate bail out idea to Washington.
You would think that Woods would be the ideal pitchman for anything, even hemorrhoid cream, but I never saw the Buick marriage as made in heaven. Buick's demographic was and is the 54-75 year old somewhat affluent guy with golf being a common denominator. I'd picture Arnie or a Jay Haas type as carrying more weight with those consumers. I'm certain Buick tried to lower their median purchaser age by hiring Woods, but they never built the product that was desirable to a younger audience. I'd fancy Tiger as more of a Toyota or Lexus spokesperson. That said, I'm sure he didn't hurt them, I just think it was a round peg in a square hole.
Coincidentally, I spent twenty five years in dealership management, a number of which were in GM dealerships during the Tiger era. We were feasted with Buick/Tiger promo material and more than a few ProV1 s with Buick logos came my way. I decided to leave the business exactly one year ago. Sadly, my brethren still in the business have much more to worry about now than just the loss of free golf balls.