Callaway Taps Uber For U.S. Open Grassroots



Golf equipment company Callaway is going to have a big presence at the U.S. Open this week. The company is using app maker Uber Technologies to offer on-demand rides to and from the venue, Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Penn., from June 13 through June 16. 

The Uber app allows people to order a car via smartphone using real-time GPS. During the Open, fans in the Philly area will be able to access Callaway-branded SUVs. Uber added a special information screen to its app tailored for the US Open. It  leads fans to the “#MyCallawayDriver” ride option, where they can request transportation to and from the course from within the Philadelphia area. There will be no cost for the Callaway ride option.

"How golfers experience golf companies has changed considerably,” said Harry Arnett, SVP marketing, Callaway Golf, in a statement. "They are now more directly connected with individuals at equipment companies, with Tour professionals and with the Pro at their local course." He said that this kind of utility-add marketing is intended to make Callaway more active -- an "engaged. experiential" golf brand. 

The company has been taking a digital approach that varies from the usually staid marketing tactics the category tends to use. Callaway launched a networking campaign for golfers on LinkedIn called "Hit the Links", and used Twitter to reveal its Razr Fit Xtreme Driver. It featured a real-time social conversation that let users unlock content about the club. The company’s Holiday Hit the Pin sweepstakes on Pinterest encouraged golfers to create a board with their dream bag of Callaway clubs. And the company launched Razr Fit Xtreme with a Las Vegas event that had people playing on hotel roofs, via helicopters that carried them from roof to roof. 

Open attendees who catch a ride through the Callaway and Uber #MyCallawayDriver partnership will get a limited edition collector’s coin designed by Callaway Golf, per the company. Those who tweet a photo of their experience to @CallawayGolf and @Uber_Philly, and include the hashtag #MyCallawayDriver will be entered to win a red, white and blue Odyssey Versa #7 Putter, per the company. Callaway and Uber will also distribute 2,000 co-branded, new user gift cards in the Philadelphia area with a promotional code valued at $20 off a first Uber ride. And anyone who is new to Uber can sign up and receive a first free ride up to $20 using the promotional code “CALLAWAYUBER”.

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