Callaway Golf Ready to Sign Creative Twosome

LOS ANGELES Callaway Golf Co. is in final negotiations to award creative duties for its Top-Flite and Ben Hogan brands to two separate agencies following a review, the company confirmed.

The shops are independent McCarthy Mambro Bertino in Boston, which is being tapped for Top-Flite, and Interpublic Group’s Mullen in Wenham, Mass., which will handle Ben Hogan, according to Ian Rowden, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Callaway in Carlsbad, Calif.

Combined billings total $10-15 million, confirmed Rowden. He declined to break out individual billings. Top-Flite media spending was $6 million last year and nearly $4 million through August 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Spending for Ben Hogan was nearly $4 million in 2002 and just over $2 million for the first eight months of this year.

Allen & Gerritsen in Watertown, Mass., had handled creative for those two brands. The independent shop parted with the client earlier this year.

Callaway sent a request for proposal to approximately 20 East Coast shops, and received 14 responses before narrowing the search to five shops, Rowden said. In addition to MMB and Mullen, the finalists included independents Via in Boston and Colangelo Synergy Marketing in Darien, Conn., which has handled projects for Top-Flite and will retain below-the-line duties, said Rowden.

Media buying for Top-Flite and Ben Hogan remains at KSL Media, an independent in New York, Rowden confirmed.

Callaway also works with Interpublic Group’s Dailey & Associates in West Hollywood, Calif., which handles advertising for Callaway’s club business, and independent Matthews/Evans/Albertazzi in San Diego, which has Callaway’s golf ball account.

Callaway in September completed its acquisition of the Top-Flite and Ben Hogan golf brands, along with Strata golf balls. Previously owned by financially troubled SHC, formerly Spalding Holdings Corp., Top-Flite Co. in Chicopee, Mass., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.