When Brands Collide: Puma Golf vs. Augusta

During this weeklong run-up to the Masters Tournament, the press generates stories to fuel fan interest around the storied Augusta National Golf Club (yes, by unspoken law you must describe that course as either ‘storied’ or ‘legendary’–‘unflinchingly white’ is not acceptable). Yesterday’s headline followed the classic chestnut ‘young rebel vs. creaky old establishment.’  No, Hootie Johnson was not involved, instead the teacup controversy centered around twenty-year old, 2010 PGA Rookie of the Year Rickie Fowler and his youthful proclivity for turning his cap around whenever he’s interviewed. That is a huge no-no because country clubbers get obsessive about things like ‘proper golf attire.’

That said, it’s totally accepted that today’s professional golfers range over the fairways like so many polyester NASCAR’s, unable to compete wearing anything that’s not noticeably embroidered with logos and catchphrases from their various sponsors. For Rickie, the face of Puma Golf, that means a wardrobe tinted with all the subtly of an Easter Egg basket. No one buys Puma anything for the brand’s sports credentials; the cat logo signifies a fashion brand and like most fashion, it aims at a younger market. And Puma loves their Bieber-esque young star, creating an ad around his much celebrated background in California motocross…

But it’s not an ad, not really, unless the cable networks are now selling fifty-three second long ad units. No, when it comes to advertising media spends, yesterday’s non-story was Puma’s big investment, covered and seen by more people than the video above which primarily resides on YouTube and their website.

PR and advertising–that’s the new convergence. Much like oversized ball caps in gumdrop colors are the new black.

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By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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troy hayes says:

It’s funny, nobody would know who he is without the goofy cap.

Mark says:

I have this theory about golf attire. I have been able to tell you who won’t win a major golf tournament based on what they’re wearing during the final round. The underlying premise of my selection of non-winners is based on one question: Will the Golf Gods allow someone wearing THAT to win the [Masters, US Open, Open Championship (don’t call it the British Open) or PGA]?

The one and only time where this has failed me was the 1987 Masters when Larry Mize chipped in on the second extra hole wearing a purple and black horizontally striped number. I have rationalized this lapse by the Golf Gods in allowing Larry to win as follows: 1) The Gods needed a bathroom break and were out of the room when Larry stepped up to his 140-foot chip at 11; 2) Larry’s a nice guy and they were willing to overlook his shirt at the cost of toying with Greg Norman some more; 3) They meant for the chip to miss the hole and go directly into the lake–it was an accident.

For this reason, Fowler and his Puma, and Ian Poulter and his flowers will never win major championships. It goes all the way back to the first technicolor golfer, Doug Sanders, who missed an 18-inch putt on the final hole of the Open Championship to lose to Nicklaus.

P.S. Fowler’s Sunday Oklahoma State orange get-up is how I tune the color on my set.

Spindly says:

Oh, *that* Hootie Johnson. I never knew the other Hootie’s last name! Peace, D!