By Barry Janoff
April 17, 2013: Rickie Fowler may not be the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world — he's currently No. 30 in the latest official ranking, but he does have a substantial number of autograph seekers and people who want to be his caddie.
At least according to a new campaign from Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, which is the official hotel of the PGA Tour.
Fowler, who was the PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2010, stars in a multi-medial effort for the hotelier, anchored by two humorous TV spots in which the Crowne Plaza experience includes substantial fans and a bevy of amenities in which Fowler, and other travelers, can unwind after a busy day.
This is the second year of a multi-year deal between Fowler and Crowne Plaza, which is a division of InterContinental Hotels Group. Fowler's endorsement deals also include Rolex, Farmers Insurance, Red Bull, EA Sports, NetJets, Puma and Titleist.
"Rickie Fowler is the perfect example of the guests we welcome at our Crowne Plaza hotels. They've accomplished a lot in their careers, but they're still striving for more," Gina LaBarre, vp-Americas Brand Management, Upscale Brands for IHG, said in a statement. "These ads take a clever approach to showing how the services and amenities we provide at Crowne Plaza hotels enable guests to be their best, whether they're a professional golfer or a more traditional business traveler."
In addition to TV, the campaign includes print, Internet and such social media destinations as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The campaign is from PGA Tour Entertainment and independent creative director Bobby Appleby.
In "Autograph," Fowler walks through a Crown Plaza lobby mingling with people and signing autographs, some of whom are fans, some of whom are just in the wrong place at the wrong time when it comes to Fowler's Sharpie.
"Signing autographs can wear me out," he says as he puts his John Hancock on notebooks, napkins and a woman's tablet. "That's why I stay at Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. I love my fans, and I love the Crowne Plaza 'sleep advantage program.'"
According to Fowler in the spot, Crowne Plaza has "super-comfortable bedding, aromatherapy sleep kits and quiet zone floors." The golfer is so enamored with the hotel that he continues to methodically sign autographs on such places as a baby's head, bath towels and a woman's hat.
Finally, jumping into bed, he says, "So I know I'll be well rested for tomorrow." (See the full spot here.)
In "Caddie," Fowler bemoans, "At the end of the day, I miss having my caddie [Joe Skovron]. That's why I like staying at Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. Everyone here is as helpful as a caddie."
That includes the man in charge of dining, who hands Fowler an orange to balance his meal of chocolate cake, and a bellhop in an elevator who gets him to the right floor.
"They always know what I need, even before I ask," Fowler continues. He's in his room, practicing putts, when a photo of a golf hole slips under the door. Fowler's ball lands on it, giving him a perfect putt. "So I can be better at my job." (See the full spot here.)
The tag for both: "We'll help you on your way."
According to Fowler, "My experience as a business traveler isn't vastly different just because I'm a professional golfer. I still want to stay at a hotel where I can get a good night's sleep and where there are people who anticipate what I need to do my job better. These ads, which were a lot of fun to film, show that business travelers can get this exact experience when they stay at Crowne Plaza hotels."
The campaign will run through Aug. 4, which encompasses the 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, May 20-26 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
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