SBD/Issue 77/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

New FootJoy Campaign Features Tour Pros As Superheroes

In a "major departure from golf product advertising," Acushnet's FootJoy brand broke this past weekend on ESPN's coverage of the PGA Tour's Mercedes Championship an "innovative, $5[M] animated campaign, via Arnold Communications, Boston, with a 60-second spot," according to Chuck Stogel of BRANDWEEK. Produced by J.J. Sedelmaier, whose credits include various skits on "Saturday Night Live," ("SNL") the ad "features 11 FootJoy tour pros who become transformed with superhuman powers via the use of FootJoy shoes, gloves and outerwear." Illustrations of the "golf superheroes" — including Phil "Lefty" Mickelson, Brad "Faxman" Faxon, Colin "Lord Monty" Montgomerie and Vijay "Captain Fiji" Singh — are "combined with actual player voiceovers in a cartoon-like scenario." FootJoy Dir of Brand Marketing Rob Kelley: "PGA Tour pros are sort-of icons, and animation — as we've seen in 'Shrek,' 'The Simpsons' and 'Monsters Inc.' — appeals to all audiences now." Stogel reports that FootJoy will follow the 60-second ad with a 30-second ad later in the first quarter. Three new 30-second spots will come later this year. The campaign, to run throughout '02 on broadcast and cable golf coverage, replaces FootJoy's "Sign Boy" effort (BRANDWEEK, 1/7 issue). In N.Y., Stuart Elliott writes the campaign, which is estimated at $5-10M, is "deliberately over-the-top" and "seeks to evoke the wickedly pointed humor of a popular segment of ['SNL']." Also, the effort is "indicative of the increasing influence of popular culture on Madison Avenue — and vice versa — particularly when, as in this instance, the ads are aimed at younger consumers." FootJoy President Jim Connor: "Golf has taken itself too seriously to a degree. The game is all about having fun, enjoyment, and the idea it's a life-and-death struggle is far removed from the average golfer." Elliott notes that in addition to TV spots, the campaign includes print ads "with a comic book look and pages on the brand's Web site," at One "big reason" FootJoy approved the campaign is that "the 'Golf Gods' approach enables Arnold to show more of the brand's golf pros and products in a single commercial or print ad" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/8).

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ESPN, Acushnet, Golf, PGA Tour, Walt Disney

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