Zula Alpha Kilo scores big with ‘Hijacking the Masters’
The campaign won in the Retail category at The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas 2023.
Credit: Zula Alpha Kilo
Harry Rosen, known for its formal menswear, wanted Canadians to know about its new line of golf apparel. With Zula Alpha Kilo, it hijacked the biggest event in golf, the Masters, by running ads during the event’s broadcast that looked and sounded identical to the real coverage. Except its ‘coverage’ focused purely on the players’ outfits. It also live-tweeted the tournament, updating fans on the most important part of the action: the style.
Harry Rosen offers a range of men’s clothing; not only classically tailored suits, but also casual clothes, footwear and even streetwear. But the outdated image of the retailer as the place your dad buys his suits still persists.
To overcome this, the brand has embarked on a series of initiatives to establish its style leadership by engaging different niche audiences. One of those audiences is golfers.
If you think of golf as the game your dad plays on Sundays, well, that’s out of date, too. Interest in the sport soared during the pandemic. New golf club memberships surged 113% in 2020, according to ClubLink, and 65% of new golfers were in the 18-34 age group, according to Golf Canada. More than 2.3 million Canadian men have played golf in the past year.
In 2022, Harry Rosen expanded its golf offering as part of a bid to bring new customers into the brand. The goals of the Zula Alpha Kilo campaign were to challenge what people thought they knew about Harry Rosen and bring them into the store or online to purchase.
The agency knew it couldn’t compete with Golf Town or pro shops on performance. But its one-on-one interviews with style-conscious golfers revealed that golf is a social activity and a lifestyle as much as it’s a sport. A bad outfit on the links can lead to good-natured ribbing or silent judgment.
If winning in golf is about how you show up as much as it’s about how you play, Harry Rosen’s style expertise could help men win at the game behind the game. So the agency aimed to establish Harry Rosen as the undisputed expert in golf style.
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To show golfers that Harry Rosen really gets them, it decided to showcase the brand during the television broadcast of golf’s premier event: the Masters golf tournament.
Each Harry Rosen spot was designed to look and feel just like the broadcast it was interrupting – the same camera angles, the same graphics, the same soft-spoken commentators. The twist: those commentators weren’t talking about the players’ swings. Instead, they were critiquing their golf attire.
In one beautiful stroke, the campaign lofted Harry Rosen’s expanded golf offering right on to the green. It proved it could really speak golfers’ language.
The campaign exceeded retail category norms for recall by 62% and more than doubled category norms for favourability (125%). In particular, online sales of polo shirts surged 40% week-over-week after the campaign launch. The lifestyle category grew by a factor of 12.6 for Harry Rosen.
Within the first two weeks of the campaign, clothing from the campaign had sold out. Searches for golf apparel on HarryRosen.com also rose 350% compared with the same period a year before.