SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2011/Media

Bubba Watson spot to launch PGATour.com campaign

The PGA Tour’s official website is launching its first ad campaign this week with a 30-second spot featuring Bubba Watson.

The Watson ad will be the first of three that will run throughout the golf season on NBC, CBS and Golf Channel. The tour will use ad inventory that’s part of its broadcast agreement with the networks. The first spot will run this week during the broadcast of the Honda Classic on Golf Channel and NBC.

The tour’s ad agency, GSD&M of Austin, Texas, came up with the creative and PGA Tour Entertainment produced the spots. The theme, “You can’t get any closer than this,” was a byproduct of research conducted with Turner Sports, the tour’s digital partner.

“We wanted to find out why people access PGATour.com,” said Lee Bushkell, the site’s general manager and tour vice president. “A lot of it was what we thought, but we wanted to put some research behind it. Mostly, people feel a connection to the league and the brand because we are the authentic source, they view our assets as the most comprehensive and they feel more connected. That’s really how we came up with ‘You can’t get any closer than this’ and that’s what we wanted to come across in the message.”

One of the website’s greatest assets, Bushkell said, is the ability to take fans inside the ropes or behind the scenes at tour events.

Each of the three spots takes actual footage from PGA Tour events and inserts fans into the action via green screen. In the spots, fans are holding mobile phones, laptops or iPads as their method of accessing the official website while the golf shots play out right in front of them. Watson’s ad is taken from his victory last year at the Travelers Championship, where he hit an approach shot to within an inch of the cup in his playoff victory over Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank.

Later this season, PGATour.com will run a promotional contest that will call for fans to edit their photo into an image and submit it on the site. The winning image will run in Sports Illustrated in May before The Players Championship.

The spots, which will also run through social media sites such as Facebook, will include footage from Camilo Villegas, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods, among others.

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