SBJ/April 10-16, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

Arnie’s Army rebrands, signs three sponsors

Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, has signed three inaugural sponsors and is rolling out a new logo as part of a rebranding effort following Palmer’s death last year.

MasterCard, Hertz and Golf Channel, brands that had long associations with Palmer, each have signed three-year, seven-figure deals to become legacy partners of the Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. The organization was created in 2015 as part of the Palmer Enterprises succession plan put in place prior to Palmer’s death at age 87 last September.

The foundation draws its name from the legion of fans who, during the 1959 Masters tournament, followed Palmer around Augusta National. It includes the PGA Tour stop Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, and the Arnold Palmer Cup international collegiate tournament.

The foundation was created to separate Palmer Enterprises’ wide-ranging for-profit business interests from Palmer’s long-standing charitable efforts.

“From a business standpoint, we needed to put sunshine between the two organizations so people can tell the philanthropic arm from the business arm,” said Kevin Bingham, chief executive of Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. “It also gives us a way to get in touch with a younger generation who may only know Arnold Palmer from black and white photos.”

The foundation’s rebranding is also part of an effort to expand its philanthropic reach nationally while looking to attract additional sponsors. The foundation is based in Orlando and focuses its efforts on three primary areas: the well-being and development of children and youth; health and wellness initiatives; and to strengthen communities and the environment.

“We have had to formalize what the foundation is without Palmer being involved,” said Kevin Smith, chief marketing officer of the foundation. “We hope it has the same mass appeal that Palmer had for six decades. He was a pioneering spirit and we need to keep it relevant.”

The foundation’s new logo was designed by Dallas-based Range, and is notable for the absence of the multicolored umbrella that is the hallmark of the Palmer Enterprises logo, which will not change. A secondary foundation logo will have the umbrella.

“We have a whole new audience to appeal to with a silhouette of Palmer instead of the umbrella,” Smith said. “We are not doing away with the umbrella but this is a new primary mark. It’s a new look and feel that we hope will appeal to various generations. We spent more time explaining what the umbrella meant. We wanted to make it current.”


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