Fitzgerald’s Secret Mission for Srixon

ATLANTA Fitzgerald + Co.’s branding campaign for Srixon Sports USA seeks to build public awareness for the client’s golf balls in a curious way.

Rather than feature professional player endorsements or high-tech product descriptions, creatives and planners at the Atlanta Interpublic Group shop decided to invest their $1 million budget in a mostly print campaign that keeps the Srixon name a secret. Instead, “Not who you think” print executions and on-air television billboards will direct consumers to an educational Web site.

Above an image of a golf ball with its brand name scratched out, the headline of one print ad asks, “Who’s won more PGA Tour events than Callaway, Nike or Precept?” The question in a second ad: “Who has more worldwide golf patents than Titleist, Nike and Callaway combined?” The answer can be found by visiting the Web site, www.notwhoyouthink.com.

“Golf is loaded with high-profile brands,” said agency account supervisor Jason Poinsette. “We knew we couldn’t win on-air, so we shifted 90 percent of the budget into print, doing some things you don’t typically see.”

Two-page pullout ads in Golf Digest and Golf World break this month.

A television buy, limited to seven-second on-air billboards, launches March 15.

“Television is a fraction of the buy,” said Poinsette. “We invested money in on-air billboards called program sponsorships, tying the voiceover into the campaign.”

In the spot, a narrator asks, “What’s the best kept secret in golf?” behind an animated visual of a spinning ball that reveals the Srixon logo. The spot ends with the voiceover saying, “Now you know.”

“The scratched out ball is an icon for the whole campaign,” said Poinsette. “That’s the biggest risk. We were thrilled and surprised that the client ran with it.”

A subsidiary of Sumitomo Rubber Industries of Japan, Srixon USA is headquartered in Norcross, Ga.