It is fun how quickly things turn in the Internet age. In the old days, Ping would have had two weeks to milk this brand building campaign, but here they are on Monday already doing their research as a "corporate citizen" to "demonstrate that appreciation"
for how stupid they were for military personnel.
David Westin follows up his initial story with this Augusta Chronicle piece titled, "Ping works on plan for military."
Karsten Manufacturing Corp. is formulating a plan that will show its support for active-duty military personnel who buy the company's Ping golf clubs, a company official said.
The Phoenix, Ariz.-based company came under fire last week for cutting off the accounts of two Augusta-area golf shops that discounted Ping clubs. The discounts were limited to the military.
"Right now we're looking at different options, different ways to determine the best way as a corporate citizen to demonstrate that appreciation to military personnel," said Bill Gates, Ping's director of distribution and associate general counsel.
Ping plans to respond with a plan for the military as early as this week, Mr. Gates said.
"We're going to have something we're going to roll out to fully show our appreciation (for the military)," he said. "We look forward to the opportunity to work with military leaders for the best way to communicate this appreciation."Where does one learn to speak like that? Is there a school?
An e-mail to The Augusta Chronicle pointed out the area's military ties to the Masters Tournament, noting that "Arnie's Army," the name for Arnold Palmer's fans, came from Fort Gordon servicemen who followed him at Augusta National Golf Course.
In the golf business, a pro shop at an area country club that still has a contract with Ping dropped its prices on three styles of Ping putters by as much as $45.
Other media picked up the story.
"We certainly understand that," Mr. Gates said of residents' concerns. "We have had some calls. We understand people feel very passionate about this issue, and we do, too."
Ping has said from the outset that it cannot make changes in its pricing policy for a particular group.
Mr. Gates said the new plan will not be "an exception to the policy. Right now, we need to maintain the consistency of our policy. But there are other things we can do that ... will show our appreciation to the military."
Mr. Gates defended Ping's record with the military, saying Karsten Manufacturing Corp. holds jobs for those stationed overseas, employs veterans and has sent free Ping clubs to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq in the past.
"We have never targeted the military in any way," he said. "We've had hundreds of closures of accounts that had nothing to do with the military."