Jordan Forms A League Of His Own

It’s AMF Bowling, Not Hoops, That Has Michael Working at Play
DALLAS–The Richards Group here breaks its first campaign this week for AMF Bowling Worldwide of Richmond, Va., since landing the $10-15 million account in June.
A 30-second television commercial airing initially in three markets will be supported by national direct mail, point-of-sale materials and in-center promotional efforts.
The spot stars AMF spokes-person Michael Jordan being hounded by media after news leaks that he is starting his own league. He clears up the confusion by explaining the group in question is the Michael Jordan family bowling league at AMF centers, not a pro rival to the National Basketball Association.
The spot includes an offer for a bowling ball styled to look like a basketball, along with an AMF bag.
The commercial will air on a mix of cable and network affiliates in Richmond, Va.; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Kansas City–home to 20 of the company’s bowling centers.
The campaign continues an existing tag, “AMF. Always means fun.”
Richards account director Dave Kroencke said the agency will evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign after an initial six-week run and determine whether to expand upcoming television spots to other markets in 1999.
Four additional television commercials are in development. All feature Jordan and promote AMF initiatives including kids’ bowling lessons and leagues. Radio ads will begin airing in the test markets in October.
The fourth and first quarters are traditionally the highest attendance times for AMF’s bowling centers.
Kroencke said the client is continuing its rapid growth via acquisitions, having added roughly 100 centers under its banner in the past year. According to AMF, the company has acquired and rebranded nearly 250 bowling alleys over the past two-and-a-half years.
AMF Bowling Worldwide’s nearest competitor is Brunswick, a longtime client of Ackerman McQueen in Oklahoma City. That company operates approximately 125 Brunswick Recreation Centers worldwide, per Hoover’s Online.