SBJ/November 12 - 18, 2001/This Weeks Issue

New P&G product goes golfing

Procter & Gamble has bought a four-year PGA Tour sponsorship, along with a sponsorship of two pro golfers, to support the launch early next year of its ThermaCare thermal heat wrap.

Sources put the four-year PGA deal, which makes ThermaCare the official back pain therapy of the tour, at $10 million. The package includes TV ads, signs at tour events and, perhaps more important, opportunities at PGA-controlled events to sample a product P&G is touting as revolutionary.

Adding to the golf-centric launch of ThermaCare are deals with PGA Tour member Rocco Mediate and Gary McCord, a CBS golf commentator who plays on the Senior PGA Tour. Both golfers will wear a clothing patch, although the exact spot has not been determined, sources said.

Golf hits the sweet spot of P&G's 35-and-older target audience, who suffer from enough chronic ailments to make the pain-relief market a $3.3 billion industry.

The golf marketing efforts are part of a massive $90 million launch campaign. P&G is backing ThermaCare in hopes of building $100 million in sales during the brand's first year. D'Arcy is handling advertising for the fledgling brand, and Clarion is handling sports marketing.

ThermaCare is essentially a pouch of chemicals that offers up to eight hours of 104-degree heating relief that can be strapped on aching muscles or joints. The product has been in test since at least 1998 and will be sold in chain drug stores and mass-merchandise distribution channels for about $7.

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