Sign Boy Returns in New FootJoy Ads

BOSTON Sign Boy, the wacky fictional fan of FootJoy golf apparel, is back causing trouble in four new commercials from Havas’ Arnold.

The 30-second spots, which break Feb. 8, show Sign Boy hamming it up with pro golfers including 2002 British Open Champion Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, David Toms, Brad Faxon, David Gossett and Ty Tryon.

“It’s a tough juggling act. Golf is a stuffy game and any attempt to be irreverent treads a fine line” but, said agency svp, creative director Jamie Graham, Sign Boy appeals to both the younger set and veteran golfers.

“Misplaced” finds Sign Boy carting off random items stolen from golfers such as a toothbrush, a glove and a carload of golf balls. As Sign Boy gleefully makes off with his loot, he looks into the camera and says, “Oh, I’m back!” Another spot, “Angel/Devil,” features Sign Boy’s good and evil sides fighting about whether he should steal a pair of FootJoy Gel Fusion golf shoes. His dark side tells him, “Take ’em, those are really sweet shoes.”

The Boston agency first introduced Sign Boy in 1998; he was dropped last year to make way for the animated “Golf Gods” series, which has since been shelved.

“[FootJoy’s] intention was to follow one great campaign with another,” said Graham. “[But] his departure was met with a never-ending barrage of e-mails asking why we [dropped Sign Boy]. Everybody missed him.”

FootJoy parent Acushnet spent approximately $7 million on the brand in 2001 and $6 million in the January-October 2002 period.