Taylor enters iron frenzy

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Burner Bubble golf clubs get $30 mil launch, infomercials

In the white-hot competitive golf equipment market, leading companies are tossing their irons into the fire.

GolfWeek has already dubbed 1996 as the Year of the Iron. High-tech irons from Cleveland Golf, Karsten Manufacturing, Cobra Golf, Titleist and Daiwa are flooding the market, sure to create a shakeout in the crowded field.

Callaway Golf Co., the first marketer to throw a hefty marketing budget behind its now legendary Big Bertha woods, cut its iron prices by 15% to protect its position.

AND NOW, THE BURNER BUBBLE

To introduce its new Burner Bubble metalwoods and irons, Taylor Made Golf Co. is turning to a schedule of infomercials as part of a $30 million launch plan. The clubs were officially unveiled this past weekend at the annual PGA Merchandise show in Orlando.

"Although infomercials are often associated with gimmicky products, we've chosen to do one because there's a lot of technology in the Burner Bubbles that needs explaining," said George Montgomery, Taylor Made's VP-marketing.

The infomercial, produced by Script to Screen, Santa Ana, Calif., features narration by golf professional and network personality Gary McCord, along with testimonials from amateur golfers and such PGA heavyweights as Mark O'Meara, Kenny Perry and Lee Janzen.

The infomercial aims at driving consumers to retailers, rather than selling clubs by direct response. Viewers can locate the nearest retailer by calling an 800-number, which airs for 2 minutes during the 30-minute program. It will air on national broadcast, spot and cable TV beginning this spring with an initial media budget of under $5 million.

TEEING UP ON THE WEB

The remainder of Taylor Made's launch budget will cover a World Wide Web site created by Poppe Tyson, Mountain View, Calif., and an extensive print, broadcast and cable TV ad campaign from Bozell/Salvati Montgomery Sakoda, Costa Mesa.

Taylor Made will need the exposure. The golf equipment market's big three--Callaway, Cobra and Karsten's Ping--all are throwing their weight behind their new Big Bertha, King Cobra Norman Grind and ISI irons, respectively.

Marketing dollars have flowed far more freely since Callaway rolled out a big-league major marketing blitz in 1991 for Big Bertha. The company introduced an improved version last April and supported it with $12 million in ads.

Copyright January 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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