Tiger Woods and Harley Earl, two key players in Buick advertising, may be retired when the automaker launches its advertising campaign this fall to introduce the 2005 LaCrosse.
Buick's marketing and advertising message "has to wake up the consumer, say something is different at Buick," said CJ Fraleigh, general manager of Buick and Pontiac-GMC.
McCann-Erickson, Buick's ad agency, is preparing the campaign.
Fraleigh pointed to Cadillac's ad campaign and the campaign that Chevrolet launched Dec. 31, "An American Revolution," as the formula for Buick's new ad campaign.
"It has worked for Cadillac," he said at the Chicago Auto Show. "It sends the signal of exactly what you want to say - something has changed at Cadillac."
The LaCrosse ads will be about the products. Specifically, that Buick's redesigned vehicles will have a high level of refinement, beautiful styling, and fit and finish matching some luxury brands.
The LaCrosse will replace the Buick Regal and Century this year.
An actor portrays the GM design legend Harley Earl in Buick advertising.
The Earl advertising "spoke to the spirit of American style," Fraleigh said. "It was about the intent of what Buicks were supposed to be - the styling, the articulation of what the quality was supposed to be, and there was a lot of imagery associated with that.
"Now that we are starting to get more tangible proof, we can start talking more about product."
As for Tiger Woods, Fraleigh said Buick told the ad agency, "You can use him or you don't have to." The same applies to the Harley Earl character.
But Fraleigh said that does not mean Woods will be leaving Buick: "His contract goes for a little more than a year. Stay tuned. We're looking to extend the relationship."
He did not elaborate.
Fraleigh, 40, who had been GM's executive director of corporate advertising and marketing, became general manager of the Buick and Pontiac-GMC divisions Feb. 1, replacing Roger Adams. Adams and Fraleigh essentially switched jobs.
Before he joined GM in 2001, Fraleigh was vice president of marketing for Pepsi-Cola North America's Colas Division.