How a sporting good became an ESPN Play of the Day

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director at NYCA

Yesterday a non-athlete, a non-athletic activity, was celebrated as an ESPN SportsCenter Top Ten play. The Play of the Day is the domain for spectacular efforts on the playing field. So how does a piece of sporting equipment make it into that pantheon?

It must capture the imagination. It must tap into a truth in sport and culture and fantasy. Of course, it starts with the product, the remarkable innovation that is R11. It’s white in a world of dark sameness. That is a story in itself. It’s a great performing golf club, perhaps the greatest.

Sergio Garcia at the white-out event in NYC

But what makes this story trespass the boundary of sporting goods equipment to a play-of-the-day is a marketing effort that was completely engaging and incomplete – to allow the media and the consumer and retail to join. A true 311 degree campaign that will be 360 degrees when done. Initiated by an activation plan featuring public relations, mass advertising, experiential, retail – where entire store fronts were whited-out — the best professional athletes, a famous celebrity ambassador who ‘happens’ on to the scene, top level corporate and public support at TaylorMade, site white-out takeovers, associating with a great and relevant cause – all coming together at a time when the golf industry is searching for a way to the future, enthusiasm, passion. A brave voice, a great story told in many ways.

White-Out TaylorMade Tour Truck

Whiting-out retail stores beyond the golf section was a breakthrough. Having an event on the streets of New York with Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, TaylorMade Golf CEO Mark King and Donald Trump in the cold of winter brought together business, golf, the biggest city in the world – in the off-season. Bang-bang-bang, barriers busted, at the premier event on the PGA Tour, the big black TaylorMade Tour Truck was whited-out, the players were dressed head to foot in white and so were fans of the brand on the other side of the ropes. Advertising ran that broke tradition by using famous kid tunes sung by children in the broadcast – in a serious game of golf?!  Yes, “one of these things is not like the other things.” The combined messaging that focused on the fun and intrigue of a renegade attitude of the product, and then supporting the technological leaps and performance founded in the science of the product – we call it the 3 Dimensions of Distance: balancing emotion and the rational.

This is part of what it takes to go from a piece of equipment to ESPN’s SportsCenter Top Ten Play of the Day. Breaking boundaries, from the performance of the product to the communications. A team that includes all partners powered by dramatic imagination. And, like all other plays of the day, inspiring execution. Breathtaking displays, this time not on the green grass of the playing field but on the marketing playing field.

And the MVP – Most Valued Performance indicator: according to retailers, the R11 is “the fastest selling golf club in the last 10 years!”

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