If you’re like me, you love opening the latest issue of Golf Digest and browsing the new golf equipment advertisements, your faced pressed against the glass of a virtual candy store, dreaming about what you might purchase next if your resources were unlimited, and if sticker shock wasn’t an issue. But sticker shock is, in fact, partly a function of these very ads—after all, the cost of marketing is passed along to you, the consumer, and it’s not just the expensive advertising in Golf Digest or Golf Magazine (a mere half-page advertisement in Golf Digest’s back-of-the-book Shopping Guide costs more than $40,000), it’s the exorbitant player sponsorships and everything else in between.
So since we’re paying for these ads, we might as well review and critique them, right? After all, it’s our money they’re spending. Hence, PutterZone.com’s new Ad Review series. First up: PING’s Redwood Series Putters advertisement.
The headline of this full-page advertisement is “Made in 2006. Born in 1959.” We’ve already got a problem. I found this ad in a magazine published in 2007, yet they are bragging about the product being made in 2006. Are you drawn to last year’s products, no matter how late in the year they were introduced? It may not be a huge deterrent to many golfers, but it’s not something I would tout as a selling point, either. There’s a reason why Golf Digest’s “Hot List” is published in January instead of December.
Moving forward, the ad explains that Karsten Solheim built his first PING putter in his garage in Redwood City, California (for some reason, they use the postal abbreviation “CA,” which is weak) in 1959. It continues by describing Karsten as the creator of an “equipment revolution,” which I believe is a fair claim, and also as the creator of a company “committed to quality, performance and innovation.” In other words: “The new Redwood Series is a fitting tribute to his legacy.” That’s a nice line.
That’s also a lot of time spent not describing the features and benefits of a putter that will set you back $250.
Thankfully, the ad makes a quick transition, explaining that every putter head starts as a single block of 303 stainless steel prior to precision milling. The stated result is “a slightly heavier head for a solid feel and clean, flowing lines that inspire confidence.” Slightly heavier than what?
Personally, I feel a bit undersold by this ad. My guess is that they are appealing to the PING cultists who don’t mind paying a premium for the sentimentality factor. But why play the narrow field? I’m a bit of a PING cultist myself, but what in this ad compels me to take that next step, to log onto the web site or visit my golf shop to learn more? The milling? At $250, milling is practically a requirement as opposed to a unique selling point.
Further research reveals that the Redwood Series represents PING’s “first completely milled stainless steel putter line.” Now we’re talking. Why not make that a centerpiece, or at least a selling point, of the advertisement? The “first” of anything is bound to grab our attention, especially when it comes to an esteemed brand like PING. Sentimentality is great, but what have you done for me lately? PING had a pretty good answer, but for some reason they forgot to include it in this ad.
Positive: An attractive putter for a fitting tribute
Negative: A questionable prioritization of selling points
Final Grade: B-