The golf tee frenzy

reddyteeIn 1922, a New Jersey dentist and frustrated golfer named Dr. William Lowell whittled a small wooden peg on which to place his golf ball, forgoing the traditional molded pile of wet sand. Lowell patented the gadget and took it to market painted fire engine red and sold in paper packets as the “Reddy Tee.” Despite advertising in every golf publication the doctor’s novelty hadn’t caught on until the desperate Lowell offered legendary and flamboyant tour professional, Walter Hagen fifteen hundred dollars to use it on tour. Hagen and exhibition playing partner, Joe Kirkwood, stuffed hundreds of the eye-catching tees in their bags, handing them out as they walked the fairways, where kids scrambled after them for souvenirs. Before long, so many people were clamoring after them, officials had to start roping off the fairways. Within months, the Reddy Tee started showing up in golf pro shops around the country and the wooden tee became a universal accessory (Frost, 2004, The Grand Slam).

Marketing history is full of examples of celebrities selling products, but that’s not what actually made this effort so effective. Spectators could have just watched Hagen and Kirkwood use the tees to play golf and sales would have probably increased, but they created a frenzy by giving the golf tees away and the product became an immediate success.

The current economic doldrums offer a golden opportunity to create a frenzy. Think of ways your product/service or organization can help people with, or help them forget their financial problems. I’m currently working with an organization that can offer tangible help for people in economic trouble. It’s newsworthy, so we’re building a PR campaign around it and it’s a great viral opportunity, especially online.

So, think of how you can create a frenzy. If it’s newsworthy, use PR as a marketing tool. If it’s helpful to people in trouble it’s most likely a great viral opportunity. You’ll receive great publicity for your good deed, be rewarded by only spending a small amount on marketing/PR and hopefully create a frenzy for your product/service at the same time.

Good luck, I hope this helps and I would love to hear how you’re doing. As always, please share any comments/questions.

I look forward to talking to you again in a few days.



~ by Rich on February 24, 2009.

6 Responses to “The golf tee frenzy”

  1. Love this example. How powerful.

  2. Exactly right. I know of one you have crafted recently and it is a great idea!

  3. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

  4. Rich —
    First of all it was good to meet you in person yesterday with Mike. Hope to see you again soon.
    As to the frenzy, I’ve tried taking your lead in giving away your product to maybe get a frenzied response, but so far for me it’s been tepid at best. Maybe I’ve gotta spring for some PR but cash is scarce.
    Anyway, keep up the good work. Thanks for the ideas.

  5. have a silver ready tee conected to an even longer tee by a silver chain. Think it is from the 1930’s. By lambert bros. sterling. Can you tell me more about it?

  6. That sounds cool.
    I unfortunately wouldn’t know what you’re looking for, I just happened to know that story.
    You could probably Google it?
    Good luck and hope you find out what you’re looking for.

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