A Tradition Unlike Any Other: Buick Captures the PGA

For all of the golf enthusiasts out there, particularly in New England, nothing gets the blood pumping like warmer temps, melting snow and green grass. Another "unofficial" season kick-off is upon us as well — The Masters — with first round coverage beginning April 10th. For me and my group of golfing buddies this tournament has always been a great motivator for getting over the winter doldrums.

Also, if you’re like me, you probably spend many weekend afternoons watching live coverage of the weekly PGA events. And as with any of these events you can’t help but be inundated with various television ads or company logos on the apparel, bags and golf balls of the players. Between the PGA tour and the players themselves the public is exposed to literally hundreds of companies throughout a television broadcast. This year The Masters Tournament will have its traditional sponsors — AT&T, IBM and ExxonMobil — but in an effort to expand globally Masters Chairman Billy Payne announced a new group of sponsors designed to help promote the tournament internationally. The top three are ESPN, which will provide live 1st and 2nd round television coverage for two days, as well as Rolex and Mercedes- Benz.

From the list of sponsors the one that struck me the most was Mercedes-Benz, since week after week, television viewers are flooded with Tiger Woods-backed Buick ads. While one might argue Buick is effectively reaching a large sub-segment (over 60) of the golfing world, one cannot deny the influx of a younger generation into the sport. Also, my visits to local golf courses and country clubs lately tell me that golfers are driving luxury brand vehicles rather than "Dad’s old Buick." That’s not to say Buick is the only automotive sponsor of the PGA – for many years now Cadillac has been at the forefront of the sponsorship stage within the PGA. Through television ads and the sponsorship of one of golf’s favorite players, Fred Couples, Cadillac has carved out its niche in the PGA. But this makes sense to me because Cadillac not only fits within the older generation, but also recent marketing campaigns by Cadillac have focused more on the younger generation of car buyers.

However, if this really is the case, do Cadillac and recently announced sponsor Mercedes-Benz resonate better among golf enthusiasts or does golfing superstar Tiger Woods help Buick lead the pack among the golfing community? In fact, golf enthusiasts are 5 times more likely to visit a Buick website than the average online consumer and 2-3 times more likely to visit a Mercedes or Cadillac site respectively (data gathered using Behavior Match).

This is especially noticeable as we get closer to golf’s largest event — The Master’s — where Buick shows a large spike. So it appears that Buick, while maybe not the brand that fits the stereotypical view of a golfer, has the golfing recipe for success; host two of your own PGA tournaments (The Buick Invitational and the Buick Open) and have the world’s most recognizable sports figure back your brand.

About Leif Cefalo:
At Compete, Leif Cefalo is a Sales Director. Leif is responsible for Inside Sales for Compete PRO Enterprise at Compete. Before Leif joined the Compete Team he worked in Client Services for a company intelligence database start up. His career aspiration is to lead a successful sales team with a start up environment. Connect with Leif on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?id=436617&trk=tab_pro

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