Schwab Re-Ups PGA Sponsorship Through 2013

Charles Schwab & Co. and the PGA Tour have extended their marketing relationship through 2013.

The partnership, which began in 1997, positions Schwab as the "Official Investment Firm of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour" and gives the company umbrella sponsorship of the Champions Tour's Charles Schwab Cup program. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but similar sponsorships generally run in the seven-figure range.

The renewal means more of the "Talk to Chuck" TV spots during PGA tournaments. The campaign, created by Euro RSCG New York, uses a series of animated television ads created by interpolated rotoscoping in which the ad is filmed in live action and then digitally animated. Written in a conversational style based on real "pain points" voiced by individual investors, the ads have helped to differentiate Schwab in the cluttered financial services marketplace.

In the PGA sponsorship, Schwab will execute a year-long, multifaceted relationship-building program at multiple PGA Tour and Champions Tour events. Schwab utilizes Tour assets for various marketing efforts and provides investment-related services to Tour players and staff.

Don Hinchey, vice president/communications at Denver-based The Bonham Group, a sports marketing firm which has put together similar sponsorship deals, says the PGA is an excellent fit for Schwab.

"Golf sponsorships make sense for Schwab, as the on-site and viewing audience is typically upscale and affluent," Hinchey tells Marketing Daily. "Further, our research has shown that golf audiences tend to skew older, and this demographic often has more assets available for financial activities, including investments. They are also more conscious in many instances of the necessity of sound financial planning."

In addition, many businesspeople are comfortable conducting business in a golf context (either playing or in a hospitality setting) "so the sponsorship is in harmony with their operating style," he adds.

"The 'Talk to Chuck' ads work because they are fresh, distinctive and they stand out," Hinchey says. "The animated format tends to reinforce the brand because when you see it, you almost immediately say, 'Oh, yeah, a Schwab ad.' The tone is also different because it's so candid."

Beyond the marketing partnership, Schwab will also be title sponsor of the Charles Schwab Cup, the season-long points competition that recognizes the leading player on the Champions Tour, made up of the world's leading golfers age 50 and over. The Charles Schwab Cup offers $2.1 million in prize money to its five leading finishers at season's end, with $1 million awarded to the champion.

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