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Titleist Tees Up $4 Mil. for NXT Line

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Titleist earlier this week broke the first three ads in what will be a series of nine new humorous TV spots in support of its NXT golf ball brand. Campaign spending, via Arnold, Boston, is estimated at $4 million.

A division of Acushnet Golf -- which itself is owned by Fortune Brands -- Titleist’s new “Inside the Cup” effort features broadcasters Scott Van Pelt and Di Stewart discussing a variety of golf topics in a talk show point-counterpoint setting. Among the issues up for debate in 30- and 45-second executions are golf etiquette, long game vs. short game, carry or ride, pace of play, groove restrictions and more.  

In one execution, labeled “Flopodopolous,” Van Pelt rails against rules restricting grooves on irons: “One of the key elements of my game could be taken out of play: the Flopodopolous . . . You can’t take the teeth out of my Flopodopolous. Don’t mess with Daddy’s bite.” To which, Stewart replies, “Nobody wants to mess with your . . . Flopodopolous.”

“NXT players are avid golfers who love the game for the challenge and the chance to play with friends,” said Mary Lou Bohn, Acushnet vp of advertising and communications. “Our new campaign, while presented in a light-hearted and entertaining way . . . focuses on the winning quality and performance of the NXT Tour and NXT Extreme golf balls. With its contemporary look, entertaining dialogue and strong NXT branding, we expect the new campaign will [score with our core audience].”

The “Inside the Cup” ads represent the first major change in creative presentation for the NXT balls (MSRP: $34 per dozen) since the microbrand was introduced in late 2001. For the past seven years, 2002-08, NXT was humorously promoted in TV, print and online by actor John Cleese portraying disgruntled Scottish golf ball technophobe Ian McCallister.

The new “Inside the Cup” spots will air on broadcast network golfcasts, in addition to placement on cable’s ESPN and Golf Channel, through year-end. The six spots yet to debut will roll out over the next few weeks. The ad buy also includes international markets. A dedicated Web site, www.titleist.com/insidethecup, goes live May 1. Online placement, including banner ads, will support.

Spending in 2009 on the NXT subbrand is expected to be on a par with last year, which was $4 million in U.S. measured media (not including online), per Nielsen.