Video game maker EA Sports looks to bring the excitement of team sports to the usually staid world of golf in a new television and viral campaign promoting the company's Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11.
"The [Tiger Woods PGA] game has always done well with people who love playing golf and golf video games. We're trying to get to a broader audience," John Elder, president of advertising agency Heat in San Francisco, tells Marketing Daily. "If you enjoy golf or just enjoy playing online sports games with your buddies, this is the year to pick up this game."
The campaign brings together several professional golfers, including Woods, Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter and Edoardo Molinari, to showcase the team play aspects of the game's latest iterations.
In a new television commercial airing this week, a Ryder Cup tournament is shown with all the pomp and celebration of a football game, including a mascot leading the team through a banner and former NFL coach Mike Ditka strategizing about how to play a hole with Woods and other professional golfer teammates.
At the end of the spot, from San Francisco agency Heat, Woods puts for the win and the crowd goes wild, in ways (including a marching band playing and jets flying in formation overhead) well beyond a traditional "golf clap." As the spot cuts to scenes from the game, a voiceover asserts it's "golf like you've never played."
"We have lots of stuff going on that you wouldn't normally see in a golf environment," Craig Evans, marketing director for EA Sports, tells Marketing Daily. "We brought these elements in to play off the idea that team golf changes everything."
A digital campaign continues the metaphor, with Woods and other professionals using team sport tactics (curling brushes on a putting green, chipping into a basketball hoop or avoiding a hockey goalie) to win holes and tournaments. The viral component utilizes a voiceover from ESPN announcer Scott van Pelt.
"It's great to have him drive home the point of all you love about team sports brought to the staid world of golfing," Elder says. "And even if you're an avid golfer, you can still laugh at the tongue-in-cheek nature of the ads."
The campaign launches June 4, with a takeover of ESPN's home page with rich media banner ads touting the game, while the viral videos and other elements will appear on EA Sports' Facebook page and YouTube channels. While the television commercial will debut during the NBA Finals on ABC on June 6, Evans says much of the game's promotion will take place online, including a significant presence on Facebook and YouTube, as well as sports- and gaming-related Web sites.
"If you look at 18- to-34-year-olds, they spend more time online then they do on TV," Evans says. "We thought, 'Let's get these guys where they are.'"