Golf is reasonably conservative, which may be why it has been losing ground with youth to other sports. One of the top golf equipment companies, Callaway, however, has been courting a younger audience through non-conventional marketing, including a painstakingly precise video of the making of the company’s new Chrome Soft ball.
The spot was developed with Flowmotion technology with the Kimba Group, an agency out of Los Angeles, which works with the golf company on its unique marketing efforts. The 81-second film follows the ball from raw materials through the manufacturing process to the tee.
Appearing as a single shot, it starts at the front of the Callaway manufacturing plant in Chicopee, Massachusetts, then takes dizzying turns through each step of the process, from the bright pink core to the shine of the shell, into the packaging and shipping to the store. We then see from the ball’s perspective getting picked up by a golfer before heading to the tee and flying with the ball in the air. It is a strong example of non-verbal storytelling and one that took many staff hours to put together.
Callaway wanted to tell the story of their flagship Chrome Soft ball, mostly the life of the ball, but the company and Kimba also worked to humanize it.
“The human story came in the form of Callaway’s pride; its people and plant in Chicopee. After tossing around several concepts, we determined Flowmotion would be the most effective and entertaining format to tell this complex ‘Made in the USA’ tech story. In under 90 seconds, we go from front door to front nine with Chrome Soft thanks to our Flowmotion creator Tyler Fairbank,” said Michael Chiavetta, co-founder of the Kimba Group.
The video is made up almost entirely of still images except for a few real-time shots. The technology that went into the video involved three days of production and five cameras using a total of 22,225 raw stills (15,000 stills are in the final edit), plus plenty of post work.
The final result is something they hope solidifies them as a unique golf company, but they have already been actively pursuing a different line in the golf universe.
Influencing through Callaway Create
While a lot of golf marketing concentrates on star players and technology, Callaway (which certainly has done its share of that) also decided to take a new approach to reach more people and the Kimba Group was happy to come on board.
The agency had a background of entertainment and tech, and they were able to bring outsider objectivity to the golf subject. Plus, the company trusted them.
“Their CMO is a rock star personality. He’s a real dude, and he trusted us, one activation, one campaign at a time, to do out of the box,” said Rebecca Rosoff, co-founder of the Kimba Group.
Callaway needed a fresh approach, and the Kimba Group looked to influencers who could bring a different, authentic perspective to the game. Thus was born the Callaway Create program. They are artists in a variety of mediums, including photography, video, illustration, Claymation and more, and all have a distinct artistic style to help tell the story of the brand.
“The program is about challenging other creative thinkers to tell an authentic story in golf. We did want to involve creative thinkers. Some play (golf), some do not. We tasked them with the creative challenges the Callaway team deals with. One did a flipbook for Sergio Garcia, showing Garcia’s swing. They used it to announce the signing of Garcia. It was a huge success,” said Rosoff.
She continued that the pieces created – like intricate Etch A Sketch drawings of Callaway clubs by Jane Labowitch, and whimsical golf photography from Andy Bloxham – area not only shared widely shared on social media and Callaway’s website, but they also help inspire the employees by bringing a new angle to celebrate the game.
“Callaway Create was born from primarily two things: a desire to connect creatively with our audience and to introduce compelling, fresh perspectives to how we tell product and performance stories,” said Scott Goryl, director of communications at Callaway.
Another way Callaway reaches new fans is through a collaboration the Kimba Group hooked up with Vice called ‘Golf Lives: A Docuseries.’ It highlights people you might not think are golfers but love the sport. A three-part series features hip-hop legend Scarface, aka Brad Jordan, formerly of the Geto Boys. It shows not only Scarface's passion for the game but also how Callaway developed a custom set of clubs with him to shave off a few points from his score.
The series also incorporates NFL running back Arian Foster, and the good-natured jawing between the two is fun to watch. Audio from the series was taken and made into a claymation short by AZXD Claymation for the Create series.
With all this, plus the new Chrome Soft video, Callaway is poised to call a younger group of golfers to the courses.
"We are always on the hunt for new ways to bring our products to life as well as continue to innovate in content and marketing. Social media and our digital channels present endless opportunities to explore. There's no reason why, in 2018, golf can't look or feel as engaging as other sports or even other lifestyle endeavors,” concluded Goryl.