Dr. Waza Returns for Bridgestone Golf

NEW YORK Watch out; wacky Dr. Waza is back, bouncing Bridgestone golf balls off walls and ceilings, breaking glass and more.

The fictional Dr. Waza is featured in fresh, humorous TV creative, breaking Nov. 23, to herald the launch this month of Bridgestone’s new e5+ and e6+ golf balls.

The commercial, called “Ricochet” and airing on the Golf Channel, will continue through the first quarter of 2008 as Bridgestone begins a $7 million campaign for next year.

Print ads in endemic publications such as Golf for Women, Golf Digest and Golf World also will support the new balls (MSRP: $38 per dozen), along with online and point-of-purchase efforts. Print and p-o-p efforts also feature Dr. Waza, but supply more specific product info, too. Bohan in Nashville, Tenn., handles the business.

“We introduced Dr. Waza with the first ads for the original e5 and e6 balls,” said Brandon Sowell, Bridgestone golf ball marketing manager. “The ads are admittedly offbeat, but the consumer response was very positive. The new ad is even more outrageous.”

In the newest spot, Dr. Waza and his golf ball laboratory assistants continue striving to develop “the ultimate golf ball.” Shouting at each other in Japanese (Bridgestone is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Sports, whose world headquarters is in Tokyo), e5+ and e6+ balls go flying around the lab as the “scientists” duck for cover, glass panels are broken and mayhem ensues.

Bridgestone spent about $6.5 million on U.S. measured media in 2006, per TNS Media Intelligence, and $2.5 million through the first half of this year.

The company is looking to expand its roster of tour endorsers for next season. Its current lineup includes Price, Creamer, Fred Couples, Stuart Appleby, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Will MacKenzie, Shigeki Maruyama and Kevin Stadler. Additions to the pro staff will be announced in January at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla.