Producing Excitement

The start to 2017 already has produced a wealth of storylines on the PGA TOUR, including Justin Thomas’s back-to-back victories with his round of 59 for good measure, Hideki Matsuyama winning for the second time this season and, most recently, Dustin Johnson’s victory at the Genesis Open to take over No. 1 in the World Ranking.

Part of my job is to produce ads that capture the excitement and showcase the incredible talent on TOUR so fans get excited for what is to come. Traditionally, this has been done through a deliberate process prior to the start of a season, identifying players we should highlight and working with our creative consultant GSD&M to build the campaign around them. After all, making great advertising takes time. Our new spot highlighting Rory McIlroy’s FedExCup title is an example of a well-conceived, impactful ad that captures the elements we look for.

The problem with relying solely on predetermined ads, though, is that it confines us to essentially hedge all our bets on who we think will be the stars of the season. Sure, you can rely on players like Dustin, Rory, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson, but what about the ability to react quickly and celebrate great achievements by players we may not have predicted, like Justin and Hideki?

This year, we took a look at our process, and while we still put heavy thought into our campaigns, we now have the capability to produce quality “That’s Good” ads in a much more flexible way. This adds a new level to our longstanding “These Guys Are Good” campaign. For instance, following Justin’s second straight win, we produced a new ad in just 2½ days and aired it the following Friday. Once Tiger announced his intended return in San Diego, we developed the spot of players marveling at his 79 victories, collecting interviews in Singapore, Maui, Palm Springs and Ponte Vedra Beach over a two-week period.  And following Hideki’s playoff victory to successfully defend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, we had a new spot ready to air in 1½ weeks.

In this environment, we had to make the commitment to implement a new strategy to supplement these ads with quickly produced reactionary spots. We created a new operational approach and essentially a toolkit that includes graphic elements to accent different moments in the spots, as well as signature music complementing the energy and drama of the TOUR.

As we walked through this new process, we already had the best creative thinking in GSD&M and then were able to add the resources of Troika, a branding and marketing agency in Los Angeles which developed the toolkit, and then enlisted HUM, a music agency based in Santa Monica.

Advertising messages are designed to provoke an emotional response and to do that they must be relevant to the people who see and hear them. With all the elements in hand, we have been able to produce these first three ads quickly and cost-effectively and, most importantly, in a way that makes the message immediately resonate with fans.

We still have our regular campaign highlighting a number of great players we had identified beforehand. But now, rather than the frustration of missing out on Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama, we have been able to complement that base message with the timely excitement that sports offer. And we will be able to do more of the same as the season progresses.

Our job is to capture the excitement that makes the TOUR what it is and make it palpable through these new ads. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll make your heart pound just a little bit harder.

See below for additional “That’s Good” spots: