Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Putting King of Scotland

On Thursday, the Masters Tournament begins, which makes this an excellent time to talk about golf. Well, golf and advertising.

Last week, I stumbled across a youtube video that deserves sharing. Not only because it was conceived, written and directed by my friend Mark Fenske, but because it speaks to the silly times we live in.

Let me back the golf cart up a bit and explain.

In 1999, at the British Open, one of golf's storied majors, Jean Van De Velde, a Frenchmen, was heading into the 18th hole with a 3 shot lead. The Claret Jug was all but his. That is until he clinked one into Carnoustie's famous Barry Berm, duffed another shot, and penciled in a 7 for the hole.

It was a crushing defeat.

And in an interview afterwards, he was quoted as saying, "I could have played that entire 18th hole with my putter and won the championship."

So Mark, being the inventive thinker that he is, took Van Der Velde up on his rhetorical remark. He took the proposal to Odyssey, makers of the Never Compromise Putter, and secured an agreement and the necessary funding to make an infomercial.

Which I have conveniently uploaded for your viewing pleasure.

I remember when I first saw this and thought this was the future of advertising. It was entertaining. And it was informative, that is, it did a fine job selling the product. Of course it helped that Mark had a self-deprecating Frenchman as its star. A dramatic setting in Scotland. And an interesting proposition that commanded the attention of the golf world.

None of which should marginalize the achievement. This was, and still is, a remarkable breakthrough in the way advertising can be done. In fact, I don't know how many times I have proposed taking on a similar approach for cars, a television manufacturer, even a financial services organization.

They all looked at me like I had been smoking the haggis.

You see, instead of making compelling stories that people want to watch and enjoy, advertisers today are looking  to incubate, incentivize and whiteboard best-of-breed applications and sticky, vertical brand synergies.

And why wouldn't they?
That's exactly what their competitors are doing.

No comments: