Jordan Spieth won the The (British) Open Championship on Sunday, defeating Matt Kuchar finishing the last round birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, par. Of course it was the bogey before the last five holes that really won him the tournament. Spieth hit his ball so far right off the tee it ended up unplayable. Instead of going back to the tee, Spieth took a penalty and dropped in the practice range area.
And that is where Titleist really became the winner of the Open. Yes, Spieth got to raise the Claret Jug, but Titleist couldn’t have paid for the type of exposure it got from Spieth’s recovery shot. The entire time Spieth was prepping, looking at what lie he can take, deciding on the line of his up and down, the Titleist brand was front and center. The self proclaimed “Number 1 Ball in Golf” trailer was there the entire time. It also helps that Spieth uses Titleist gear.
The Open was the first time non-NASCAR fans were truly and consistently exposed to split screen advertising. Throughout play, there would be a commercial going on, while NBC let things “play through” as they called it. Titleist didn’t even have to worry about being relegated to split screen. They were there the entire time on the 13th hole. Titlelist branding sitting in every viewers face. This Open will be remembered for Spieth’s amazing triumph over adversity, but it will also be remembered in the marketing world because Titleist was omnipresent on that shot.
The exposure isn’t equal to the cost of a true commercial with sound, messaging, and dialogue, but it is definitely good enough. It’s almost as if Spieth purposely shanked his ball right knowing that he could help his branding partner get extra exposure, and create some much needed drama in a relatively boring major championship — note: I am not serious.
Now Titleist can leverage the Spieth shot into future ads. Remember the McDonalds Larry Bird/Michael Jordan ad?
Titleist should be thinking the same thing with golf shots. Jordan Spieth and any other major star signed with the Titlelist brand should be talking about shots “over the Titleist trailer and through the woods.” In fact, Titlelist could just replay Spieth’s shot from the gallery/practice green followed by his long putts that netted him all those under-par scores after his recovery. They don’t even need a creative idea.
This is a “can’t put a price on that type of exposure” situation. Well, they probably can, but again Titleist didn’t pay a dime. There’s nothing better than endorsers winning and the brand association that come with that. Well . . . unless you’re Titlelist. Then not only does one of your major endorsers win in dramatic fashion, but they also create a marketing campaign and provide free brand exposure.