What if the (supermarionation) Thunderbirds played golf? If you are too young to get that reference, how about "Team America"? Yes, we're talking puppets. Adidas' golf unit, Carlsbad, Calif.-based TaylorMade, is launching a campaign in which four pro golfers are “Speed Police” marionettes rolling around courses in a diminutive cart to promote the brand's Jet Speed Metalwoods.
The campaign has tapped the voices and likenesses of PGA Tour stars Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Sergio Garcia in a storyline that has them going around golf courses in highway patrol-type police outfits, tackling golfers who are committing the crime of going too slowly because of their outdated drivers. Of course, the puppets are only about a foot tall, so the humor comes when they tackle a full-sized person.
The effort, via Los Angeles-based Zambezi, includes TV, print and digital elements. In addition to the TV spot, there is a series of videos on Taylormade.com and YouTube comprising a series on each of the characters. The company also redesigned its splash page to reflect the campaign and such theme-lines as "Do you know how fast you weren't going?" and the tag, "Distance is the law."
“Golfers have heard every tech claim and distance-enhancing pitch in the book. Our goal was to bring some ‘fun’ back to golf with a campaign that delivered a compelling product message that makes you stop and say ‘what just happened,’” said Bob Maggiore, CMO at TaylorMade Golf, in a statement.
The portrayals are meant to mirror their on-course reputations, per the company. Johnson is aggressive; Rose is the sartorial one; Day is the Australian; and Garcia is easy going and just along for the ride. Los Angeles-based animation firm Hornet, Inc. created the puppets.
“Every major stick and ball sport is given license to push their storytelling to the brink of insanity, but people never expect the same kind of disruption from a golf brand’s advertising,” said Kevin Buth, creative director at Zambezi.