SBD/June 16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Backstreet's Back: Four PGA Tour Golfers Channel Their Inner Boy Band For Video

"Oh Oh Oh" video premiered on Golf Channel Tuesday during "Live From the U.S. Open"
PGA Tour golfers Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson have teamed “to form a foursome set to storm both the course and the charts: the Golf Boys,” according to Chris Cutmore of the London DAILY MAIL. The mock group has released their debut video, 'Oh Oh Oh,' and the “song's style is typical boyband fare.” The video is the “latest in a series by ... Crane and is set to raise cash for charity, with Farmers Insurance donating $1,000 for every 100,000 views the video gets on YouTube” (DAILYMAIL.co.uk, 6/15). In Charlotte, Roy Green Jr. wrote, "Based on the early reaction, there could be plenty of money headed to charity" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 6/15). ESPN's Jim Rome said, “While I won’t be bumping ‘Oh Oh Oh’ in my car, big ups to these guys for having some fun and making some dough for charity” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 6/15). At presstime, the video had garnered 633,960 hits on YouTube (THE DAILY).

BEHIND THE MUSIC: The four golfers appeared on Golf Channel Tuesday after the world premiere of the “Oh Oh Oh” video, with Crane wearing a Farmers Insurance cap. Crane has put out several humorous videos on YouTube this year and he said of putting the “band” together, “These guys came to me at one point or another and said ‘I’d love to be in a video,’ and all of a sudden it was like, the band is getting back together.” Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner jokingly said, “If you can get Vijay Singh to do a video, then you really are something special.” Crane said, “We’re looking at some guys maybe trying out for the band, maybe get a (Justin) Timberlake or a Justin Bieber.” Mahan: “They can try out. … There’s going to be a try out process.” Crane: “No guarantees!” Lerner asked Watson if he would rather win a Grammy or a U.S. Open, to which he replied, “Truthfully or you want me to do PC on this one? … I’d rather win a Grammy! I’ve won three trophies.” Lerner: “You know there are some old-timers who listen to Perry Como who are at home going, ‘That’s what’s wrong with American golf. These kids are too busy making videos.’” Crane later noted, “We just want to grow awareness for the game, want people to enjoy it. It’s the USGA, we’re growing awareness for the game. More people playing the game of golf. More people making boy band videos” (“Live from the U.S. Open,” Golf Channel, 6/14). Crane said of the reaction to the video, "It's been all positive. It's been fun" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16).

IT'S GOOD TO SHOW SOME PERSONALITY: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Jason Sobel asked, "Remember when professional golfers were thought of as boring guys in khakis?" The video and song are a "giant leap toward creativity and marketing players' personality in a sport which desperately needs guys to stand out from the crowd." Sobel: "Let's hope this is only the beginning, with more players choosing to show a side of themselves we don't often witness inside the ropes" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 6/15). In Oklahoma City, Jenni Carlson wrote under the header, "'The Golf Boys' Are Just What This Sport Needs." Golf needs to be "less buttoned down." Carlson: "It's a fun game. It's an exciting sport. ... You so rarely see that side of golf." What Crane, Fowler, Mahan and Watson have done "should be lauded by everyone in golf. It should be celebrated. It should be lauded. Most importantly, it should be repeated" (NEWSOK.com, 6/15). GOLF WORLD's Sam Weinman writes during Tiger Woods' latest absence, golf "needs personalities that fans gravitate toward for more than just their short games." Weinman: "Perhaps you could do without the sight of Watson in his overalls or Crane in a helmet and a unitard. But one thing's for sure: You're not going to forget it anytime soon, either" (GOLF WEEK DAILY, 6/16). In Jacksonville, Garry Smits: "Just to prove that PGA Tour players aren't a bunch of robotic clones and that golf isn't a stuffy, boring country club sport ... well, we're not sure what they're trying to prove" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 6/15).

NOT YOUR GRANDFATHER'S TOUR: In Augusta, John Boyette wrote golf writers "tend to complain that the current crop of golfers aren't forthcoming enough, or they lack personality, or they won't cooperate.” But the Golf Boys video shows “these guys in a different, if not disturbing (i.e. Bubba Watson in overalls), light.” It is “hard to imagine” Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson or Woods “doing anything like this.” But Boyette writes, “Times have changed” (AUGUSTA.com, 6/15). In Sydney, Mark Hayes wrote under the subhead: “It’s About As Far Removed From Golf’s Staid Traditions As You Could Imagine.” Hayes: “Four of the US PGA Tour's finest have done their best to break their sport's traditional image” (HERALDSUN.com.au, 6/15). In West Palm Beach, Matt Porter wrote there is "one thing we know: This isn't your grandfather's PGA Tour." Porter: "Could you imagine Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player pulling off something like this?" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 6/15). The AP's Jim Litke wrote, "It's not the kind of video you can imagine Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer ever taking part in." If the USGA "had any problem with the video, they held their tongues during the organization's annual 'State of the Game' news conference." The PGA Tour, which is "in the business of merchandising their golfers," had the video posted on its home page (AP, 6/15). Comcast SportsNet’s Ivan Carter said, “You need some young talent having fun, bringing in a new generation of fans” (“Washington Post Live,” Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, 6/15). But ESPN's Michael Wilbon said there is a "zero percent chance" the video will help create new golf fans ("PTI," ESPN, 6/15).

FUNNY BUSINESS: ESPNW's Amanda Rykoff wrote the video "brings a winking eye and gives viewers a glimpse into the personality and sense of humor of guys who are typically all business on the golf course" (ESPNW.com, 6/15). In Louisville, Eric Crawford wrote under the header, "Who Says Golfers Aren’t Funny?" (COURIER-JOURNAL.com, 6/15). ESPN's Scott Van Pelt: "I thought it was hysterical, but then again I’m not a PGA Tour professional" ("SportsCenter at the U.S. Open," ESPN, 6/15).
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