And he remains a goldmine even at a golden age. Mr. Palmer, who
retired from competitive golf in 2006, had $36 million in earnings
last year, ranking him No. 3 on Golf Digest's "all-encompassing
money list," which includes on-course and off-course revenue such
as endorsement and licensing fees. He was superseded by only two
active players: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
"The fact that he's still earning $36 million a year is a real
testament to the power of his brand," said Jim Andrews, senior VP
at IEG, a sponsorship, research and consulting firm. Indeed, Mr.
Palmer's appeal as measured by the Marketing Arm's Davie Brown
Index -- which quantifies influence, awareness and other celebrity
attributes -- is more than double that of Luke Donald, today's No.
1 PGA Tour player, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance
The branding review, run by New Jersey-based brand-strategy firm
Trajectory, is expected to be completed by the end of the year and
was launched to ensure Arnold Palmer Enterprises has consistency
across its products, while positioning it to move into new
categories. In truth, the process began several years ago, when the
group took a hard look at its deals and began paring back,
eliminating more fringe licensing arrangements for items such as
Christmas ornaments and card games that Mr. Britt described as
"knick-knacky items that really don't have the reach." And while it
sheds those partnerships, Mr. Palmer's organization is charging
harder into higher-profile categories such as beverages and
His classic cool look will be showcased in a retro clothing line
called "Arnie," set to launch in February. Three upscale
collections will feature styles he wore in the "50s (small collars
and short plackets), "60s (wider-legged pants and collars) and "70s
(more subdued colors). Mr. Palmer's company was "looking for a
young, fresh brand" that would "make it more relevant to the game
and to the younger demographic that is playing the game," said
Geoff Tait, co-founder of Quagmire Golf, the Toronto-based clothing
company handling the line.
Mr. Tait, 32, went to work right away -- starting with a trip to
one of Mr. Palmer's homes in Latrobe, Pa., the town where he was
born. Mr. Palmer apparently saves almost everything, and Mr. Tait
poured through it all, including closets of old clothes and a barn
"full of every shoe he's ever worn, every golf club he's ever
played with," Mr. Tait said. "I went through and I literally took
home a couple of his cardigans that he wore back in the day, some
pants, some old shirts -- just to get inspired by the style."
Mr. Palmer is also growing his partnership with Arizona
Beverages, which is expanding distribution of its recently launched
Arnold Palmer Hard Half & Half, a spiked version of the
lemonade-tea mixture the golfer made famous long ago. Arizona,
which markets Hard though affiliate Hornell Brewing Co., plans to
grow distribution to 21 states from five, following the success of
the 10-year-old nonalcoholic Half & Half, which has developed a
strong base of young consumers.
"His status as "The King' gives him a charisma that is hard for
a young demographic to resist, even if they have never seen him
play professionally," said Arizona spokeswoman Jackie Harrigan.
He's such a big draw that more than 100 fans young and old
recently traveled from 26 states to hear him talk at a United
States Golf Association event in Orlando, Fla., in which he relayed
old golfing tales, Golfweek magazine reported in January.
Mr. Palmer's marketing machine first gained steam in 1960, when
he paired with agent Mark McCormack, who went on to found legendary
sports agency IMG. (Mr. McCormack died in 2003, but Mr. Palmer
remains with IMG.) "A brilliant part of Mark's marketing strategy
was never to tie my endorsement of a product to how I was faring on
the gold course," Mr. Palmer says on his website. "His aim was
never to position me as a "winner' because there always comes a day
when a winner no longer wins."
Rather, the strategy touted Mr. Palmer's endurance, reliability
and integrity. And years later, Mr. Palmer is still finding
marketing success based on that philosophy -- along with lucking
into the fact that the "60s are in.
"He's able to take advantage of a trend because he's from an era
that 's hot again," Mr. Andrews said, but hastened to add that he
"never really went away. ... He's had this kind of steady presence
for people of all ages."
The Arnold File
Born: 1929, Latrobe, Pa.
PGA Tour Wins: 62
First Professional Win: 1955 Canadian Open
Last Professional Win: 1988 Crestar Classic,
Champions (senior) Tour
Businesses: Arnold Palmer Enterprises
(endorsements, licensing); Bay Hill Club and Lodge (Orlando resort
and golf course); Latrobe Country Club (Pa.); Arnold Palmer Design
Co. (golf courses); Arnold Palmer's Restaurant (La Quinta, Ca.);
Arnold Palmer Motors (car dealership, Latrobe); Arnold Palmer Golf
Tournament Services (leaderboards, course set-up)
Major Endorsements: Callaway Golf, Cessna, Golf
Channel, E-Z-Go Golf Carts, Golf Digest, Ketel One Vodka, Rolex
Major U.S.-licensed products*: Arizona Half
& Half tea/lemonade beverage, wine, golfing headgear,
sunscreen, Anutra grain, Arnold Palmer Golf Management (course
Oversea-licensed products*: Men's, women's and
kids' apparel and underwear (Japan); bedding (China); bags and
luggage (Singapore); kitchen- and tableware (South Korea); clothing