Callaway TV Will Help You Cure Your Slice

Golf Giant's Online Branded Venture Features Video Tips From Mickelson, Others

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CHICAGO -- When he took over as Callaway Golf's top marketing executive last spring, Bill Kneese, a veteran of packaged-goods behemoths Unilever and PepsiCo, wasn't accustomed to his consumers caring all that much about his products.

Callaway TV features a home page for each Callaway player, including Phil Mickelson.
It didn't take long for him to realize that golfers are a lot more interested in their gear than Pepsi drinkers are into their cans.

Satisfying a consumer demand
"I came from relatively low-interest categories, so it was kind of a shock to see how way into equipment golfers are," Mr. Kneese said. "It really got us thinking about how to satisfy that demand on the web."

The result of that thinking is the recently launched Callaway TV (, which features what the links-obsessed will likely consider a treasure trove of video starring the golfing giant's considerable endorser roster, which consists of PGA Tour stars such as Phil Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player.

Callaway's contracts with tour players allowed it access to them for commercial shoots for a certain number of days each year. Mr. Kneese leveraged that access into low-cost content for the marketer's online channel. He said he hopes the content will increase the marketer's web traffic by 10% to 15% and increase the amount of time consumers spend at Callaway's website.

Mr. Kneese credits Connecticut agency Ryan iDirect for formulating the concept of a video site as a way to achieve that.

Phil Mickelson's home page
The site they created features a home page for each Callaway player. Mr. Mickelson's section, for instance, offers instructional videos on escaping from bunkers, insights into how he approaches club selection, stories about how he learned to play and even tips on how to hit trick shots.

"The site is really about getting into the heads of these players," said Ryan iDirect President John Kuendig. "Golfers want to know what Phil's thinking when he's in the trap, why is he using that wedge, why do I have these clubs in my bag, that sort of thing."

In its first 30 days, with virtually no promotion, 150,000 videos have been viewed on the site, and the average visitor has spent six minutes there. There are also plans to incorporate Callaway TV references into the marketer's print ads, and possibly to extend it into in-store video displays.

Mr. Kneese wouldn't comment on what the marketer is spending on the site, or what percentage of its total marketing budget the site will occupy.

Callaway spent $33.3 million in measured media, mostly on magazine ads, during 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence, but only $2.2 million online.
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