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Oreo Effect: TGL Can Give Fans a Taste for Golf's Classics ⛳️
Golf executives are hoping to entice a new generation of golf enthusiasts with the innovative new TGL golf league - and Oreo's successful marketing strategy suggests that it just might work...
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Launching its inaugural season in January 2024, the TGL is setting out on a compelling mission: to entice a new generation of golf enthusiasts by elevating the entertainment quotient of the sport.
With the formidable backing of golfing legends Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, as well as the former Golf Channel president, Mike McCarley, the TGL represents a hybrid fusion of live-action and virtual golf.
Taking place within an indoor arena, six teams, each featuring three prominent PGA TOUR players, will engage in a competition that is likely to redefine the golfing experience as we know it.
Players will commence by teeing up into a large screen more akin to an IMAX cinema screen than a conventional simulator bay. Subsequently, they will transition to a technology-driven short-game zone, encompassing chipping, bunker shots, and putting.
Each match will be 18 holes and the format is designed to be played within 2 hours, creating a product built for broadcast.
In the words of Mike McCarley, "We’re providing a form of the game that looks more like other sports." He added, "This is going to be an NBA courtside experience, whether you’re there in person or watching on television."
Amid the excitement, however, there will also be purists worrying that such introductions could divert interest and attention away from the traditional formats of the game.
For these aficionados, golf is about patience and the test of endurance across lush greens and sprawling fairways—a stark contrast to the dynamic, condensed nature of the TGL's indoor arena.
This seems unlikely.
The likelihood is that the TGL will, in fact, bolster the interest and demand for the traditional formats of golf cherished by the purists— tapping into a marketing strategy that Oreo has perfected over the past decade. Let me explain.
For nearly a century, Oreo's recipe for success was simple: two chocolate cookies sandwiching a layer of cream. However, since 2012, Oreo has unleashed over 65 new flavours onto the market—not with the hope of surpassing the original, but with precisely the opposite intention.
In an old but illuminating interview with The New York Times, Justin Parnell, the senior director of the Oreo brand, explained that the company's motive behind continually rolling out new flavours was to rekindle consumers' affinity for the original.
"When we do it well, it drives our classic Oreo cookie, as well as the sales of the limited edition," Parnell said of releasing limited-edition flavours. When shopping, many consumers will "pick up that classic Oreo variety that they love, in addition to the limited edition," he continued.
This assertion found substantial support in Nielsen data at the time of the interview, revealing that while sales of novelty Oreos had surged by 12% over the preceding three years, sales of the original had soared a remarkable 22%.
In essence, Parnell and Oreo's strategy was centred on retaining the spotlight on their brand.
This is a challenge that resonates with the golfing world, which has been offering essentially the same product for well over a century. Consequently, the release of new formats, much like a new flavour, has the potential to significantly enhance the appeal and consumption of the original, classic version.
To an extent, we’ve already seen this play out in cricket…
Much like the TGL, Twenty20 cricket was introduced as a dynamic, condensed version of the traditional Test format, designed to entertain, and attract a broader audience demographic. The format's success, marked by the dazzling spectacle of boundary-laden innings and electrifying finishes, has breathed new life into the sport. T20, particularly the Indian Premier League (IPL), has become a global phenomenon, attracting massive television audiences and sponsorships.
While on paper T20 cricket could be viewed to be stealing fans from the more traditional Test format, the reality *may* differ. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), T20’s popularity doesn’t mean the end of Test cricket.
In fact, out of 13,000 fans surveyed across 100 different countries in which cricket was a popular sport, a staggering 86% said they still hold Test matches in higher regard. This was similarly backed up by several of the sport’s top players, including Ben Stokes, Pat Cummins, and Tim Southee – who have each spoken about the importance the long format holds for them.
Harnessing the attacking flair encouraged by the shorter formats, Ben Stokes’ England competed in a scintillating Ashes series against Australia this summer – a series which saw Sky Sports achieve a record peak and average viewership for its Test cricket coverage.
Ultimately, as Oreo and cricket demonstrate, innovation and evolution can enrich, rather than erode, the heritage of our most beloved sports formats. Golf executives will be hoping that the TGL is no exception to that rule.
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