Buick Debuts SUV with Online Tiger Woods Movie

Buick, a division of General Motors , debuted its latest sport-utility vehicle, Rainier, with an offline-online campaign that looks to tap into the viral marketing possibilities of the Web.

The spot, which first aired on Sunday, features Tiger Woods offering unsuspecting golfers the chance to win a Rainier by beating him at “closest to the pin” on a par three hole at an Orlando area golf course. The 30-second spot shows Woods approaching the golfers, filmed by 29 hidden cameras, and offering the wager. Eventually, four shocked golfers win an SUV. The spot points viewers to the Buick Web site for the full five-minute film of the ruse.

“Tiger Trap” is the brainchild of Interpublic ad agency McCann-Erickson, with the Web component done by i33. Both the TV spot and online film were created by Steve Chase and his company, Reactor Films.

In addition to the TV spot, Buick is backing up “Tiger Trap” with an online ad campaign that includes rich media placements on Yahoo!’s front page and a full-page interstitial on NYTimes.com.

At the Buick Web site, visitors can download and view the five-minute film, enter a sweepstakes to compete in a closest-to-the-pin contest with Woods in the fall, and get further information on the Rainier SUV. The site also offers the chance to send others an e-postcard about the film.

The online film takes a page out of Reebok’s book. In the Super Bowl, the athletic apparel manufacturer showed a commercial featuring Terry Tate, “Office Linebacker.” The spot, featuring a Lawrence Taylor clone tackling rude office co-workers, teased further Tate films at Reebok’s Web site.

Tate was an instant Web hit, generating huge amounts of traffic to the Reebok site and quadrupling visits to Reebok’s online store, according to the company. Last week, the company followed up with the launch of an offline-online campaign designed to drive visitors to the Reebok site to find clues in a crime mystery featuring four of Reebok’s top basketball-sneaker endorsers.

While Tate has faded from the public imagination, Woods has staying power, despite not winning a major tournament in the past year. According to Forbes magazine, Woods took in $70 million in endorsements last year.

In 1999, Buick signed Woods to a five-year deal that reportedly pays him between $5 million and $6 million per year. The last big push Woods made for Buick was the launch in 2002 of its Rendezvous SUV.

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