6 Set to Pitch MacGregor Golf

Client’s Record Has Others Sitting It Out
ATLANTA–MacGregor Golf will listen to pitches from six agencies this week for its $3-5 million account.
After what client marketing vice president Jeffrey Sears described as a coast-to-coast search to replace Howard, Merrell & Partners of Ra-leigh, N.C., the golf club maker appears to be moving closer to its home here.
Sources said Atlanta agencies Austin Kelley, Fricks/Firestone and T.G. Madison make up half the list. Burris in High Point, N.C., and Husk-Jennings in Jacksonville, Fla., are the other regional entries, along with New York’s Holland Group.
But MacGregor’s short list is apparently shorter than the client would like. Several agencies, including WestWayne in Atlanta, said they were invited to pitch but declined. Shops cited concerns about MacGregor’s track record, which shows it is seeking its eighth agency in 15 years. It also has a reputation in golfing circles as a slow payer.
Campbell McCool, principal of McCool Communications in Atlanta, met with MacGregor and said, “They are going to be a very difficult client for any agency to manage.
“They stated that they want to control the creative process. They don’t really understand the golf business. Sears said everybody’s doing it wrong but him. Lastly, they are enormously focused on pay for performance . . . They treat an agency like a vendor. They don’t want an agency involved in media planning because [Sears] thinks media is strictly how cheap you can buy anything.
“I predict they’ll be doing this again in 12 to 18 months,” McCool concluded.