“When you’re embedded in the event, you’re TiVo proof"

22adco.190.1.jpgClaudia Deutsch of the New York Times looks at the FedEx Cup ad campaign and serves up a nice warning for New York businessmen prone to rolling their eyes. Or maybe people eat this stuff up? That wouldn't surprise me either.

If you are south of Greenwich Street in Manhattan between noon and 5 p.m. today, look for a weird miniparade: A guy carrying a “quiet” sign followed by a golfer, his caddy and an entourage of nattily dressed “fans.”

Don’t think it’s another bunch of aging hippies commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Summer of Love. The stunt is part of the endgame in a long and expensive campaign by FedEx to drum up frenzy over the FedEx Cup golf playoffs that start at the Westchester Country Club tomorrow.

Just think of the poor struggling actors who have to play these parts out...in public. Then again, people are paid to perform Cats, so anything is possible.
 But now, the race to the pin begins. FedEx has set up a 12-story, three-dimensional billboard of a golf hole on a building on Greenwich Street, the starting point for today’s golfer’s walk. It has cloaked its delivery trucks in a green plastic wrap that simulates grass and that advertises the FedEx Cup.

It is peppering telephone kiosks, Pennsylvania and Grand Central stations, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal with what it calls guerrilla stickers — messages suggesting excuses for skipping work from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16, the duration of the event. (“The dry cleaners lost all of my shirts.” “The copier is jammed.” “I am downloading a file on dial-up.”)

The hoopla will be replicated in Atlanta, where the finals will be held: another staged miniparade will go through the business district there; guerrilla stickers will decorate the airport, train and bus stations; and rapid-transit commuters will be treated to cheeky observations like “most golfers will have played in the rain longer than it takes you to commute to and from work.”

Many of the commercials that FedEx will run during the tournament will continue to promote the cup, but others will promote services like printing (remember that FedEx now owns Kinko’s), shipping and supply chain management. Since most people watch sports in real time, “when you’re embedded in the event, you’re TiVo proof,” said T. Michael Glenn, executive vice president for market development at FedEx.

Oh but you haven't seen me TiVo through a telecast before. 

And golf, marketing experts say, is likely to establish an equally strong track record as an executive sport.

“Golf is one of the fastest growing sports, both for watching and playing,” said Michael Watras, president of the brand consultancy Straightline International.

And who apparently just came out of a 5 year coma. 

Younger people, he suspects, embrace golf by choice; aging boomers turn to it by necessity.

“With tennis, your knees give out,” he said. “But with golf, you walk, you swing, you walk again. You can do that for a long time.”

Or take a cart.