As if New York hasn’t had enough snow this year, Golfsmith is hoping for more, specifically on Feb. 15.
That day, Golfsmith and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Co. are holding the “White Out” in-store—and in-the-street—promotion. The title of the event refers to the color of two new drivers—the all-white R11 and Burner SuperFast 2.0—that will be on display and used by professionals and the public in a huge outdoor driving range.
An all-white range will be built outside Golfsmith’s Manhattan store on 54th Street, closing off two of the three lanes to traffic. And should Mother Nature not dump another load of the white stuff on the city that day, the manmade stuff will be brought in to deliver the “white out” effect for the 45-foot-tall by 120-foot-long caged hitting bay.
“You’ve got to think about something that will make people stop and say, You’re going to do what?” Golfsmith chief marketing officer Matt Corey said. “They have to think you’re a little bit crazy.”
Other brands have gone a little crazy, too, drawing big crowds to unexpected event staged in unexpected places.
Last fall, Eco-friendly cleaning brand Mrs. Meyer’s brought its Clean Day products to San Francisco—and dumped them into the fountain in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square. And who could forget when Snapple created a 20-ton ice pop in New York City at an attempt at a Guiness World Record. The weather played a role in this event too, temperatures rose and the pop began to melt.
But back to the “White Out.” Top-ranked professional golfers Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia—wearing all white, of course—will kick off the event at 11 am by teeing off for a cause. For each target they hit, TaylorMade-adidas and Golfsmith will donate up to $40,000 to Operation Game On!, an organization that uses golf as part of rehabilitation efforts for wounded warriors.
The public will then be invited to try the clubs at the range, visit the store to get autographs from the professionals and receive giveaways such as hats or one of 10 white drivers.
Golfsmith’s marketing strategy generally does not include many major events like this one. Instead it tends to focus on direct mail and catalogs and online promotion of Golfsmith.com, as well in-store demonstrations, clinics and private parties at its 75 stores.
“On occasion you have to have something that’s not just about direct response. This event is to drive our brand,” Corey said. “When you have the opportunity to do something unique and out of the box—not just another discount or free shipping offer—that’s going to create awareness for your brand and your partner’s brand, you’ve got to do it.”
A major PR push to local and national media is the top priority to generate exposure for “White Out.” Print ads in golf publications and (maybe) a New York Post ad also support the event. Email and social marketing will be used to spread the word virally.
Word-of-mouth proved its worth at a major event Golfsmith staged in 2006 to bring attention to its tennis equipment and apparel: It built a tennis court in New York City, where a match was held between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Viral components were credited with bringing 700-800 people to the event.