Grant Thornton leveraged its rights at the 2020 Players Championship with a Rickie Fowler-fronted ad campaign.
Grant Thorton inked a trio of partnerships – with the PGA Tour, the Players Championship tournament, and with golfer Rickie Fowler – in December 2017.
The accountancy firm saw the assets unlocked – a broad on-course presence, hospitality opportunities and advertising around telecasts on the Golf Channel and NBC that could be led by one of the world’s top players – as a means to position itself as a transformational, convention-challenging business.
Grant Thornton’s strategy is based on research showing business customers ‘have grown weary of a sea of sameness’ when it comes to a services industry dominated by the ‘Big Four’. As the fifth largest player in the category, Grant Thornton positions itself as the challenger.
In 2018, the rights were activated ahead of the Players with a Fowler-fronted ad campaign called ‘Jargon Caddie’ that dovetailed with the brand’s umbrella ‘Status Go’ brand platform.
In March 2019, it took the form of two TV and online 30-second spots aired during the Players: ‘Tailor’ and ‘Lobster’.
In 2020, the activation set out to encourage prospects to ‘Go Fearlessly’ among the uncertain business environment by picking Grant Thornton.
For the 2020 Players, Gryo created an activation programme spanning TV, online, social media and digital components that continued the ongoing ‘Status Go’ brand platform and was again led by a hero spot starring Fowler – this time called ‘Swing’.
The 30-second ad parodied slow play in golf and acted as a business analogy for being too afraid to act in times of uncertainty.
It debuted during NBC’s broadcast of the Honda Classic and continued through Spring 2020, culminating at the 2020 Players Championship.
The lead commercial was supported by a social spot posted on 4 March 2020 specifically leveraging the brand’s Players partnership, called ‘Welcome to The PLAYERS Championship’, which celebrated the fifth anniversary of Fowler’s thrilling 2015 tournament victory with a lookback at some of its most daring moments.
As well as the ad campaign, the multi-touchpoint activation included email marketing, a client and target client hospitality game/culture experience, at-event entertainment and refreshment as well as print assets, chalet graphics, web banners, landing page, social content and CEO message videos.
According to Grant Thornton, the activation’s Net Promoter Score (the percentage of customers rating their likelihood to recommend a company) was 100 (with a 97.5% client satisfaction rate).
The campaign generated more than 332 million PR impressions, while the client programme engaged 384 executives and the activation’s Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI) was $14.9m.