'Ban NXT' ball campaign

Film 'protest' against Titleist launch

Bob Warters's picture
Thu, 13 Dec 2001

'Ban NXT' ball campaign
The Titleist NXT ball packs.
A one-man crusade by a familiar-looking course designer against Titleist’s long-distance golf ball the NXT is certain to cause a stir in the new year.

In a well-publicised campaign, architect Ian MacCallister will claim the new ball’s distance and feel benefits are rendering golf courses obsolete and has even formed an action group ‘Golf Designers Against Distance’ to get the ball banned.

Picketing the No.1 ball-makers factory and a custard pie in the face of the company’s chief executive at a press conference are all part of the highly–publicised protest.

However, all is not quite how it seems, as McCallister will quickly be recognised as comedy actor John Cleese, who is featuring in a tongue-in-cheek series of television commercials, starting in January in which he threatens to halt the launch of Titleist’s latest golf products.

Wally Uilhein gets a pie in the face.

Says Titleist’s director of marketing in Europe, John Peal: "The aim of the campaign is to appeal to a broad audience of golfers with fun and entertaining adverts while driving home the message that the new NXT Tour and NXT Distance are the next generation in long and soft golf ball performance."

The advertisement campaign, to be shown on Sky Sports during coverage of the Sony Hawaiian Open, utilises the debate between technology and tradition to promote the distance benefits of the NXT balls.

The fictional character of MacCallister goes to great lengths to stop the launch by sabotaging a press conference in which Titleist boss Wally Uihlein gets a custard pie in the face. McCallister later embarks in a non-stop vigil outside the company’s head office.

Cleese, though not a golfer, was chosen for the part because of his high profile in Europe, as well as the US, where the commercials will also be shown.

Cleese steps up his campaign.

The new NXT targets a wide range of handicaps and skill levels and is ideal, says Titleist, for players seeking long, straight distance and soft feel. The NXT Tour and NXT Distance have large solid cores for long distance and low compression cores for soft feel. They will be avialable in ther UK in January at a cost of £6.95 for a sleeve of three.