Callaway taps Kevin Nealon to tee up new clubs as interest in golf surges

Dive Brief:

  • Golf company Callaway partnered with entertainer and golf enthusiast Kevin Nealon in a new campaign aimed at combating slices, a curved shot which remains a problem for golfers, according to details emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • An eight-minute short film pokes fun at the problematic shot and presents the company’s Big Bertha B21 clubs as a solution. The company also created a Slicers Anonymous page on their site featuring the ad and the line of clubs.
  • The campaign comes as interest in golf increases during the coronavirus pandemic as it is an outdoor activity with social distancing built in. Google searches pertaining to “golf slice” are the highest they’ve been in seven years, inspiring the company to create the clubs and the ad that features a fictional support group for golfers plagued by slices, per The Drum.

Dive Insight:

Callaway suspects that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought fringe, casual and beginner golfers back to the sport, leading to the uptick in Google searches around slicing. Given that more golfers are struggling with the slice, the short film features Nealon persuading the others in the ad to repeat the phrase, “your slice is not your swing” while showcasing the brand’s Big Bertha B21 clubs.

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“Golf is an emotional sport — an internal, introspective game where players are always looking to improve in a battle against themselves for their personal best,” said Rebecca Rosoff, co-founder of The Kimba Group, the agency behind the film. “A support group composed of archetypal golfers who all slice for different reasons felt like the perfect setting for a dark comedy that tapped into those truths.”

The brand is among other companies that have enlisted the help of comedians to spice up their content, including P&G and Jose Cuervo. The ad also follows other brands like Pepsi and Babe Wine seeking to connect with sports enthusiasts who are looking to have fun from a distance during the pandemic.

Research suggests that taking a lighter approach with ads could help brands reach consumers who are tired of hearing about the pandemic. Per a Mitto survey shared with Marketing Dive in May, 41% of consumers said they want to hear from companies about topics other than the pandemic.

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