Any golfers looking for a good price on rain gear will probably find plenty of half-price sales on the Sun Mountain line.
In case you’re not a golf fan, Sun Mountain outfitted the U.S. team with rain gear (jackets and pants) for the 2010 Ryder Cup competition against the European team. As might be expected for early October in Wales, Sun Mountain got a wonderful chance to show off the performance of its product when it rained heavily on the first day of the event. There was only one problem: rather than repel the rain, the Sun Mountain rain gear actually absorbed it. This led to understandable complaints from the American players that it was affecting their play, which was of course reported extensively by the TV and other worldwide media covering the competition. To add fuel to the fire–or water to the flood–the American team went to the pro shop at the Celtic Manor club hosting the event and purchased the ProQuip brand rain gear worn by the European team–complete with the European team logo.
Normally it would be quite a coup for a golf product brand to get its line selected for use in the sport’s most-watched global event. Such product placement can have more impact and generate more exposure than millions of dollars worth of advertising. But that assumes one thing: that your product actually works. If it doesn’t, it’s a disaster of monumental proportions.
As the owner of a marketing agency, I naturally have a deep appreciation for brilliant marketing initiatives. However, the first rule of smart marketing is to make sure you have a product that works–ideally, one that works better than any of your competitors’.
Shame on Team USA for not doing its due diligence and making sure that the waterproof gear it selected was, you know, waterproof. And shame on Sun Mountain for turning a potential marketing coup into a certifiable Waterloo.