SBD/May 21, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Crowne Plaza Taps Rickie Fowler For "Plum" Promotion At PGA Tour Event

Crowne Plaza will unveil special tee markers at this week's PGA Tour stop
When Crowne Plaza launched a new brand identity campaign late last year, the upscale hotel chose to emphasize one of its primary colors -- plum -- in its marketing and advertising. This week’s PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial will be the hotel’s first chance to put that plum branding in play on the golf course. Crowne Plaza will station an eight-foot-tall "plum-o-meter" near the entrance to course, and will also include a fan area where it will distribute free weekend tickets to fans who wear plum on Thursday during the first round. Crowne Plaza also will unveil new tee markers for the tournament this week that are small replicas of a Crowne Plaza hotel building. PGA Tour title sponsors have found tee markers to be an effective branding tool at tournaments. John Deere uses its green tractors as tee markers for the event at TPC Deere Run, while Travelers uses its umbrella for its event at TPC River Highlands. FedEx uses its trucks at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Coca-Cola uses a six-pack of bottles at The Tour Championship, and Cadillac uses the hood ornament at Doral, just to name a few. “It’s important when you make this kind of investment that you take advantage of every opportunity to drive brand awareness,” said Gina LaBarre, VP/Brand Delivery for the Americas division of IHG, Crowne Plaza’s parent company. 

PLUM OF A DEAL: Wasserman Media Group has worked with Crowne Plaza on the branding initiative this year and also helped the hotel identify Rickie Fowler as the golfer to sign for endorsements. LaBarre: “It becomes much more meaningful, in terms of enhancing your brand, if you uncover all of those opportunities, rather than just slapping a logo on everything. We’re very conscious of where all of our branding opportunities are, both for the fans and the TV cameras. Everything we’re touching with Crowne Plaza has that new ‘plum’ identity, from the tee markers to the signage, Do Not Disturb quiet signs, and the pin flags.” Even the colorful Fowler will be decked out in Crown Plaza plum for Thursday’s first round. The “plum-out” will extend to Crowne Plaza’s home office in Atlanta, where employees will be wearing the color as well. Crowne Plaza has been the tournament’s title sponsor since '07, and its most recent agreement with the PGA Tour runs through '15. IHG also is the official hotel partner for the PGA Tour, Nationwide Tour and Champions Tour as part of a five-year deal that began in '11.

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