ORLANDO — Heading into the PGA Merchandise Show, which begins Thursday at the Orange Country Convention Center, companies are looking to ride already-established momentum in, make a splash in Orlando, then carry that momentum throughout the year.
Great Timing For PING
“What a great start in just his second week out with them on the PGA Tour. That was quite an accomplishment,” said PING director of engineering Brad Schweigert.
“A lot of it is brand building than actually stimulating individual club sales, but when you have a new product launch like this and you have early success with it, I think it can only help,” he added.
“We don’t put a load of pressure on our tour players to get into the new products. We obviously make it available and work with them, so when they do choose and they have success, it’s a great feeling for us,” said Schweigert.
“When he first hit them, he just thought they went through the ground really nice. They really suit his eye. They had some forgiveness where he wanted it in the long irons. The trajectories were really good. It was a good fit right from the beginning.”
Nike Dares You
Nike Golf president Cindy Davis joined LPGA Tour star Suzann Pettersen and some big bruisers in the form of Ken Griffey Jr. and Sterling Sharpe at a company event Tuesday evening at the Peabody Hotel.
Griffey and Sharpe took part in a Speed Trial, something that will become a part of demo days and at retail outlets in the months to come as part of the launch of Nike’s VR_S woods, hybrids and drivers.
Golfers will get the chance to compare their own clubs against the VR_S products.
“Getting people to change is not always easy,” said Davis.
“Change isn’t easy in anything and golfers who have been playing this sport for a long time often default to whatever brand they’ve been playing and don’t do due diligence to really understand what’s available in the marketplace,” she added.
Nike, a relative newcomer in the club business compared to other major manufacturers, is providing the incentive to do that through Speed Trials, according to Davis.
“Is it too difficult to go hit a few drives, a few fairway woods, a few hybrids to really see the technology? We don’t think it is,” she said.
“If we didn’t find a way to have trial with a purpose, we’re not sure we’d get the engagement level we think we’re going to get with this program,” said Davis.
“If someone says, `I dare you,’ a lot of people say, `Okay, I’ll take you up on that.’ This program, in many ways, the Speed Trials, says `I dare you.’”
Callaway Has Lots To Show At The Show
Callaway is not only introducing its fully-adjustable RAZR Fit driver, but also its RAZR X Black family of woods, hybrids and irons, but it won’t end there.
The new HEX Black Tour and HEX Chrome golf balls will be introduced, as will the new Metal-X line of putters from Odyssey. In irons, the RAZR X Black, the RAZR XF and the RAZR X HL iron will complement the company’s 2011 offerings—the RAZR X, RAZR X Forged and RAZR X Tour.
Watch GNN for more on the technology of these products.
What Happened In Vegas Won’t Stay In Vegas
Expect to see Callaway’s new “Epic Demo” advertising campaign, shot on location at and above the Las Vegas Strip in December, on network television in the next few weeks.
At the helm of the shoot was music video and commercial director, Joseph Kahn. The television and online executions will put the spotlight on the company’s 2012 products and staff professionals, reportedly in a way most golfers aren’t used to seeing.
PING nFlight Going Mobile
You won’t actually see it in Canada until later this year, but PING is giving accounts a peek at its new, mobile nFlight fitting system, which works with several launch monitors off an iPad-type device, which delivers a wealth of swing information.
You heard it here first, but don’t tell anybody that.
Fourteen Goes Forged
Fourteen Golf, distributed in Canada by Jancor Agencies, is introducing its TC-530FG forged irons at the show. Watch GNN soon for the complete tech story.
Nike Deja Vu
Last year’s launch of the 20XI only took place in North America and this year it goes global. Advertising campaigns and player seeding will be among the means used to promote the ball in North America and around the world.
“We not only created a new core technology. We created a whole new manufacturing process. It was a start-up,” said Nike Golf president Cindy Davis.
“Making a urethane ball, a premier ball, is not an easy thing. Creating a whole new way from an injection molding standpoint was a whole new thing,” she added.
“We wanted to bring it to (the North American) market because it was out in the marketplace from a knowledge standpoint, so we made a strategic decision to begin the process in North America,” said Davis.
“We actually look at this year as the real launch of the 20XI golf ball because it goes global next month. Now the trial begins. If you look at our portfolio from an advertising standpoint, it will get the largest amount of advertising dollars percentage-wise of our media spend,” she said.
“I think we learned something,” said Davis. “Because of the energy that we created in North America launching this, all the launch quantities in other parts of the world have nearly doubled than what was originally planned.
“The other parts of the world have said, `I’ve heard about this, when is it coming?’ so we created some real anticipation and pent-up demand for this product,” she said.