MullenLowe Wins USGA Account
The IPG agencies will 'inspire and fuel longevity' for the game of golf
As the first major golf tournament of the season wraps up, the United States Golf Association (USGA)—the organization that serves, governs and promotes the game—has chosen a duo of new agencies to help grow the nonprofit and the sport.
Creative agency MullenLowe, along with Carmichael Lynch Media, has secured the USGA contract to help deliver increased brand growth and awareness. The two IPG agencies will help the 130-year-old organization connect with consumers and identify new fans.
While the amount of the contract wasn’t disclosed, the USGA’s total U.S. media spend for 2022 was estimated at $8 million, with $5 million offline and $3 million in digital, according to COMvergence.
MullenLowe’s assignment goes beyond a championship campaign. The strategic framework will tell the organization’s story in a way it hasn’t been told before and embrace a broader community.
The contract came about after the USGA had an organizational regroup internally, when Lynn LaRocca, head of brand and marketing for USGA, joined last year and put out an RFP to find an agency that could bring the organization’s plans to life.
“We’ve defined our strategy around the pillars of ‘unify, showcase, govern and advance,’ and we issued the RFP last fall and had a number of agencies that answered it. … We were just taken with what MullenLowe brought forth,” LaRocca told Adweek.
Kelly Fredrickson, president of MullenLowe Boston and New York, said there was a lot of passion on her team for the USGA, its history and its shepherding of the game toward a future that’s more inclusive.
“When we were meeting with the USGA team, it just felt like it was an opportunity to creatively shift the perception of an important brand to elevate the role of the USGA beyond a governing body to one of the most influential voices in the game to the MVP of golf,” Fredrickson told Adweek, adding that the agency will help educate people on what the USGA does as a force for good on behalf of golf.
A two-club approach
MullenLowe will continue to evolve and define the current tagline of the USGA, “For the Good of the Game.”
LaRocca said the USGA believes it is the only organization thinking about the game and where it’s going to be 20 to 100 years down the road, while taking action today.
“What we’re doing for the good of the game is actually inspiring and fueling longevity for it,” said LaRocca, adding that this is the first time the USGA has had an agency relationship where it is bringing its brand strategy to life and then activating on it across multiple channels.
Carmichael Lynch Media will aim to expand brand awareness and familiarity with the USGA and the many ways the organization works to unify, showcase, govern and advance the game. The agency will help drive ticket sales to USGA Championship events, activating brand creative work developed by MullenLowe, and enhancing USGA initiatives and activations, tapping into its search expertise and strategic media partners to tailor plans to every level of golf enthusiast.
“Our strategic use of location data makes messaging unmissable in key markets leading up to the largest championships, including tapping into local influencers to share their love of the game with audiences in new ways,” Neil Goodspeed, director of media and senior partner at Carmichael Lynch Media, told Adweek.
Some may see golf as an elitist sport, but the USGA showcases the game at every level, from youth to seniors, governing with a modern set of rules and standards but also helping to advance the game through sustainability and inclusivity, according to LaRocca.
“We believe that anybody at any level can become someone who lives the game. And that’s what we’re working with MullenLowe on creating,” said LaRocca.
The first work from MullenLowe will come out before the U.S. Men’s Open, which is being played at the L.A. Country Club in the middle of June, with more work to promote the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach in July.
“We’re investing in every aspect of the game, and really elevating the women’s game is one of our top priorities,” said LaRocca.
This article was originally published in Adweek.