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Tiger Woods And Harley Earl Reintroduce Buick's "Spirit Of American Style"

DETROIT - Buick's established role as the automotive leader in premium American style is reaffirmed in an all-new television and print advertising campaign. Debuting the week of Sept. 16 with the full body of television work airing on the Sept. 22 Emmy Awards show, the campaign features Tiger Woods and "brings back" Harley Earl, the father of modern automotive design, to personify the division's new tagline: "The Spirit of American Style."

"The intent of this new campaign is to blend style and humor and draw upon inherent strengths of the Buick brand," said Randall Tallerico, Buick's advertising director. "Our goal for the creative treatments is to draw consumers in to take a new look at Buick, to understand where we've been and where we're going."

To reassert its styling philosophy, Buick creates the persona of the auto industry's first design chief, Harley Earl. He returns to take stock in today's models, such as the highly successful Buick Rendezvous, and suggests that great things are to come.

Veteran stage and film actor John Diehl plays Earl in the commercials. Diehl is probably best known for his appearance on "Miami Vice" as the Hawaiian shirt-clad Detective Larry Zito. More recently, Diehl played a surgeon in the film "Pearl Harbor" and appeared as Ben Gilroy on FX's critically-acclaimed television series "The Shield."

Famed director Tony Scott directed the five new television spots. Scott is known for a number of top films, including "Top Gun," "Spy Game," "Enemy of the State" and "Crimson Tide." The new Buick commercials are:

1) "The Ghost in the Garage"
In this ad that re-introduces Earl, the famed designer walks through a garage - actually Tiger Woods' garage - filled with current and classic Buicks telling a "ghost story."

2) "Tiger Versus History"
Shot at Florida's Grand Cypress Golf Course, Earl brings three golfers from the past to see "the kid" during a practice round. Initially unimpressed, the golfers - dressed in Plus-4s - disappear after Tiger crushes a drive. As the commercial concludes, Earl proclaims, "Buick. Always has been, always will be, the official car of golf."

3) "The Haunted Test Track"
Filmed on the California Motor Speedway, Earl explains why Buick put a 240-horsepower supercharged V-6 engine in the Regal which speeds toward and through him.

4) "Car of the Future"
Set in a 1950's Autorama, an event that Earl created, the famed designer shows a crowd the car of the future - a 2003 Buick Rendezvous. The crowd looks on quizzically as he explains the vehicle's innovative capabilities.

5) "Driving Mr. Earl"
In Buick's statement on luxury, Earl rides in the back of a new Park Avenue Ultra with the family dog and points out the finer points of "my most decadent design yet."

The new campaign was created by Buick's national advertising agency, McCann-Erickson Detroit under the direction of Executive Creative Director Dave Moore.

Earl, whose father was a coachbuilder from Michigan, was born in Hollywood in 1893. After building a successful business that offered custom made-bodies for cars and trucks tailored for Hollywood stars, Earl was lured to Detroit after a meeting on a Los Angeles golf course and was put in charge of what would become GM's Art & Colour Section. His 20-year tenure at GM has numerous design highlights, including tail fins and the first dream car, the Buick Y-Job.

Buick, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2003, is buoyed by recent sales successes. In addition to a significant rise in sales over 2001, Rendezvous is continuing to sell at a blistering pace.

John Wray

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