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Cleese Reprises Role for Titleist

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BOSTON Arnold's latest effort for Acushnet's Titleist NXT golf balls features comedian John Cleese reprising his role as wacky loud-mouthed Scottish golf court expert "Ian MacCallister."

"The idea of the campaign was to focus on the debate in golf about [whether] technology is ruining the game," said Brent Harwood, senior vp, group account director at the Boston-based Havas agency. "Obviously from our standpoint technology can make the game more fun."

Three commercial show Cleese's character concocting ways to protest and counteract the distance and soft feel of the NXT and NXT Tour golf balls. The spots also feature famed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. In "Replacement" MacCallister takes over the development of one of Jones' course designs and begins adding outlandish hazards such as a herd of skunks and long rows of trees. In "NXT-ivore" MacCallister shows Jones a golf ball-eating plant that resembles a Venus flytrap.

Cleese has been appearing in Arnold's Titleist ads since 2001. The latest spots are running on network and cable golf coverage. The client spent about $25 million last year on ads. In addition to Titleist, Acushnet Co. counts FootJoy, Cobra and Pinnacle among its golf brands.