General Motors is hoping children will tell their parents it's OK to own a Buick.
The brand has been distributing 70,000 posters of spokesman Tiger Woods standing in front of the 2002 Rendezvous, Buick's first sport-utility. Jack Bowen, brand manager of the Rendezvous, expects many kids will hang the poster in their rooms and influence their parents.
The posters are part of a pre-launch campaign for the Rendezvous, designed to overcome Buick's stodgy image.
The average age of Buick buyers is 62, according to Polk Co. The average Rendezvous buyer will be 35 to 49 years old, Bowen said.
The Rendezvous buyer will be a 'thriver. They're working their tails off, they're in clubs, they're volunteering, they're doing things with friends and family,' he said.
The vehicle will be at dealerships in the second quarter of 2001.
Bowen said the Rendezvous' sticker price will be 'well below' that of its target competitors, the Acura MDX and Lexus RX 300. The base price of the 2001 MDX is $34,850, and the 2001 RX 300 is $34,450. Both prices include the destination charge.
The Rendezvous teaser campaign also includes a sweepstakes on MSN CarPoint's Web site, car
point.msn.com. As of Nov. 3, nearly 100,000 people entered the contest. 'By the end of the year, we expect to have well over 300,000 (sales) leads,' Bowen said.
The brand has been sending a four-piece direct mailing to those leads and will do so into January, he said. The mailing, with messages of versatility, comfort and security, includes Rendezvous trading cards and a letter from Woods.
Dealers are trying to get influential people to drive - and be seen in - the Rendezvous. For example, Dave Sinclair, owner of Sinclair Buick-GMC in St. Louis, is lining up coaches and players from the St. Louis Rams and other sports teams. He sells about 900 Buicks a year.
Sinclair has given away about 300 Tiger Woods posters to kids and adults.
For the first 10 months of the year, U.S. Buick sales are down 8.5 percent from last year to 355,871.