Mullen/LHC Creates Handiwork

Mullen/LHC focuses its first ad campaign for Dunlop Total Performance golf balls on the hands of pro player Steve Jones.

Broadcast for the $10 million account breaks Feb. 28 on the Golf Channel. Print debuts in Golf Week, Golf World, Sports Illustrated and other April publications.

Written by creative directors Mike Grice and Mark Fisher at the Winston-Salem, N.C., shop, the work features Jones, who won the 1996 U.S. Open three years after a motorcycle accident nearly ended his career.

When Dunlop Slazenger Group signed Jones, Grice and Fisher had their story. They stressed that “almost anyone could have had this injury and gone back to work with it, but not a golfer.”

In a series of images shot in Los Angeles by Ken Fox of Villains, the 30-second spot zooms in on Jones’ healed hand. A determined voice-over follows the story via a list of simple sentences: “It belongs to a professional golfer. It was severely injured in a motorbike accident. It couldn’t grip a club …” Slightly out-of-focus background images follow Jones’ journey from injury to performance to triumph. Copy continues: “Now it drives the Dunlop, spins the Dunlop, sinks the Dunlop. It makes a great fist.”

“Total performance. Just try to find a better ball at a better price,” is superimposed over a closeup of the product.

“Attaching a mass brand [Dunlop’s 10 pack retails for $19.99] to a tour player gives the product a legitimacy,” said Frank Campion, agency senior vice president and creative director. “When Jones plays with this ball, he is saying he trusts his career to it.”

Campion described Jones as an Everyman pro, good but not distinguished until he won the Open. Fisher and Grice, both golfers, worked with Jones on developing the script. “When you experience something like this, you gain a kind of humility, said Campion. “We’re all suckers for a comeback.”