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VW Strikes GoPro, Motor Trend Deals to Rev Up Excitement for Golf GTI

Posted by Dale Buss on June 9, 2014 05:31 PM

Volkswagen of America has been slumping for nearly a year and is in desperate need of some good news. Now help finally is on the way in the form of the seventh-generation new Golf and sporty Golf GTI subcompacts.

In May, VW’s sales challenges in the US market continued with a 12 percent drop compared with a year earlier—while most of its other American rivals were enjoying double-digit percentage increases amid continuing boom times.

The company switched out US chiefs early this year at the end of a three-year run of annual huge sales gains. Besides troubles with the UAW, a new mid-size SUV built in either Tennessee or Mexico isn’t due until 2016, putting extra pressure on the new Golf.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Golf—and Golf Brands—Try to Find Their Way Back Onto the Fairway

Posted by Dale Buss on May 23, 2014 02:12 PM

Because they’re not hearing enough “thhhwwwwack!” sounds at America’s golf courses, brands including Dick’s Sporting Goods, TaylorMade, Callaway and country clubs across the country aren’t hearing enough “cha-ching” noises at their cash registers.

As the nation’s duffers head into the traditional Memorial Day high time for golf optimism and play—it was National Golf Day on Wednesday—the bad news is that players are leaving the sport in droves each year. About 400,000 did so last year, according to the National Golf Foundation, accelerating a slide that has lasted 20 years by some measures.

“Golf is in a bit of a drought,” Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor Associates, a brand-consulting firm, told Bloomberg. “It’s a pretty high-price sport, and leisure time is getting crunched.”

What’s more, Millennials haven’t taken to golf like previous generations of Americans; 200,000 players under 35 alone abandoned the game last year, according to the foundation.Continue reading...

personal brands

Jack Nicklaus Gets Into the Ball Business

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 3, 2013 05:24 PM

Jack Nicklaus has spent pretty much his entire 73 years around golf. He’s won more major tournaments (18) than anyone else and the man known as the Golden Bear has managed to keep his image clean of any tawdriness (unlike the guy right behind him on the majors list, Tiger Woods, who has won 14).

One area Nicklaus may be trailing Woods is in endorsement deals, but not for long. According to Golf Digest, Nicklaus has developed his own line of golf balls that are being manufactured by Bridgestone and will be on sale in November. 

The line will consist of three different balls: Nicklaus Black, Nicklaus Blue and Nicklaus White, named and designed for the different tees that golfers can hit from at the start of a hole. The balls have been individually constructed to fit the playing style of different golfers, from those with a high handicap or low one.Continue reading...

brand partners

Chevron’s STEM Program Builds Out Tie-In with USGA to Encourage Young Minds

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 10, 2013 11:47 AM

Chevron is expanding its ongoing partnership with the US Golf Association for its “Chevron Stem Zone” venue for kids to include a new grassroots initiative in conjunction with this week's US Open.

"We have a neat little deal," Glenn Weckerlin, global director of brand and product line management at Chevron told MediaPost. "The initial term [with the USGA] is a three-year deal through next year. And it's all based around education.” 

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math—fields that America needs to fill with the next generation of scientists and chemical engineers in order to keep a toe-hold in an increasingly competitive world. “If you are investing in cause marketing, it’s nice to have something in which you have credibility and a vested interest, and we have both,” said Weckerlin. “The upside is huge, no matter how you look at it. There are four countries worse than the US in math scores."Continue reading...

fool disclosure

TaylorMade-Adidas Scolds Sergio Garcia After Racist Remark

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 24, 2013 11:09 AM

Golfer Sergio Garcia has made more than $24 million since 1999 just with his golfing skills, so he doesn’t exactly need the extra money from endorsements, but it would be a very public slap in the face (and dent in his wallet) if his main sponsor, TaylorMade-Adidas, decided to dump him due to an insensitive remark he made earlier this week.

Garcia and Tiger Woods have been known to not enjoy each other’s company very much and have been engaged in a bit of a spat since the two had an encounter at the Players Championships. While playing on the same hole, Woods pulled a club from his bag just as Garcia was taking a swing. Tiger’s actions and the crowd’s response distracted Garcia and his shot went a bit off course, CNN reports. Verbal jabbing on the course followed, and Woods went on to win the tourney.

In the leadup to this weekend’s European Tour matchup, Garcia was asked at a press conference Tuesday if he would invite Woods over to his place. "We'll have him 'round every night,” he said, according to ESPN. “We will serve fried chicken." The comment earned him a load of recrimination, an outraged tweet from Woods, and the threat of his main sponsor pulling the plug: "Sergio Garcia's recent comment was offensive and in no way aligns with TaylorMade-Adidas Golf's values and corporate culture," said a statement released by the company. "We have spoken with Sergio directly and he clearly has regret for his statement and we believe he is sincere.”Continue reading...

sporting brands

As Golf's Best Gather at the Masters, Sponsors Await Big Pay Day

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 11, 2013 07:15 PM

The 2013 Masters Golf Tournament—one of the few golf tourneys that the world outside of the golf community actually cares about—kicked off Thursday morning as brands watch helplessly, hoping and praying that one of thier golfers is the one pulling on the famed green jacket by weekend's end. 

As Forbes points out, last year’s winner, Bubba Watson, wasn’t a big name outside of the golf world before the Masters got underway last year. Though by the end of the tournament, his main sponsor, Ping, had generated $14.2 million in media value, according to brand analyst and research firm Repucon. That's triple what the next brand, TaylorMade, got out with at $4.5 million. 

The reason the numbers vary so much is because he Masters only allows four minutes of commercials each hour and limits the amount of branding on the course so the majority of brand exposure comes from the golfers themselves and whatever airtime they get. That means sponsors of the world’s top-ranked golfers—Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose— along with such big names as Phil Mickelson (No. 9) and Watson (No. 14) will be enjoying the sight of their products far more than those who supply gear to Richard Sterne (No. 49). Unless, of course, Sterne pulls out the game of his life and ends up in or near the winner's circle.Continue reading...

auto motive

Volkswagen Aims Bigger, Lighter Golf At US Market

Posted by Dale Buss on April 2, 2013 12:05 PM

Volkswagen Golf was in some pretty intriguing company at the New York International Auto Show with fellow winners of the World Car of the Year Awards: Porsche Boxster as Performance Car of the Year, Jaguar F-Type as Car Design of the Year and Tesla S as Green Car of the Year.

But Volkswagen executives were more excited about the prospects of the seventh-generation Golf in the US market than about the North American debut of Golf 7 winning the World Car of the Year designation. The New York Auto Show award recognized the Golf, VW's best-selling car worldwide, as the "car for everyman."

Yet in America, Golf—while it's been a workhorse for the Volkswagen brand for decades—isn't accorded nearly the respect that it is globally. Volkswagen has begun a major push toward higher sales volumes in the US, but it has achieved significant gains already with new versions of its three other primary cars: Passat, Jetta and the Beetle.Continue reading...

ad watch

Nike for Tiger Woods Victory Lap: If Nike Says Everything's OK, Is It?

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 28, 2013 12:02 PM

Winning takes care of everything. Or so says Nike. 

The sporting goods giant posted a quickly contentious image on its Nike Golf Facebook and Twitter accounts this week in the wake of Tiger Woods’ record-tying eighth victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational showing the newly-(re)crowned world No. 1-ranked golfer sizing up a putt. The slogan, “Winning takes care of everything,” a favorite saying of Woods since 2009, is front and center. At the bottom, of course, is Nike’s famous swoosh—alongside the word, “Victory.”

Nike says the statement references Woods’ perseverance to return to the top of his sport and is a salute to his athletic performance. But everything? Please. Sports fans weren’t the only ones who devoured every titillating detail of Woods’ personal life when it was exposed following his late 2009 admission of multiple extra-marital affairs.Continue reading...

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