GSD&M Touts FedExCup

LOS ANGELES The PGA Tour is launching a campaign that touts the inaugural FedExCup golf championship.

The work, via Omnicom Group’s GSD&M, breaks next week and runs through the August playoffs.

“The whole idea of golf has changed because of the introduction of a playoff system and having an ultimate champion, with a $10 million purse, ” said Tom Gilmore, svp, group creative director at the Austin, Texas-based shop.

Tiger Woods appears for the first time in a spot touting PGA action, said Ric Clarson, svp, brand marketing, PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

In the ad, Woods is slowly revealed from the feet up as he prepares for the playoffs in a locker room, whistling the song “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III.

Additional spots pair golfers with famous athletes from other sports. In one, former Giants quarterback Phil Simms advises Ernie Els on how to handle the playoff pressure. Simms instructs Els to bang his head against a locker to get fired up. After Els tries it, Simms notes that the ritual works best when the head-banger wears a helmet.

In another commercial, Jim Furyk asks pre-game meal advice of Pittsburgh Steelers star Jerome Bettis, who promptly devours the golfer’s lunch. “You’re supposed to be hungry,” Bettis says. “It’s the playoffs.”

Clarson said the “fun and interesting platform” sprang from the realization that none of the golfers had experienced the intensity of playoff situations common in other sports.

“We have had a long season and realized that except for money and titles, nothing connects the tournament week in and week out. Now, players have started talking about where they are [in the standings],” Clarson said.

Gilmore, who crafted the campaign with creative directors Brian Born (art) and Chuck Meehan (copy), said the use of non-golfers is intended to catch the attention of potential fans who might be more interested in other sports.

“Who better to explain playoffs than players who’ve been in playoffs?” Gilmore said. “That also brings in a more casual viewer of golf. That’s exactly who we want to attract.”

Though the PGA spends about $20 million annually in measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence, its PGA Tour usually receives less than a quarter of that support.