"We're thrilled to have Justin as part of the Callaway staff," George Fellows, president and CEO of Callaway Golf, is quoted as saying in the news release. "He has everything we look for when signing new talent - natural ability, a solid work ethic and passion for the game."
I like it. Timberlake is a golf freak, he now has his own PGA Tour event, and he respects the traditions of the game.
Plus, he appeals to a whole other audience. The typical golf endorsement deal - this or that Tour player - doesn't move units. No golfer goes to the pro shop and asks the dealer, "What does Tim Herron play? Give me those clubs." Tour staffs are about branding, about building brand awareness. (With rare exceptions. For example, when Nike Golf signed Tiger Woods, that had impact. Nike was very new to the golf club business and Woods brought instant credibility.)
Timberlake's signing won't impress golfers at all, of course. But it does allow Callaway to market to that much larger audience of people who have not yet started playing golf. People who are into celebrities, not golf, but might get into golf at some point.
Who knows, maybe hiring celebrities will become the new thing with golf companies. However, there are plenty of notables that golf manufacturers should stay away from. For example, these people probably would not be good investments for golf club companies:
- President Bush. Nobody is going to pay for a 25-percent approval rating.
- Jessica Simpson. Although a company might pay her to stay away from Tony Romo while he's on the course.
- President Clinton. He is, however, a candidate to endorse the foot wedge.
- Charles Barkley. No ... just no.
- Halle Berry. Because who would even notice that she's holding a golf club?
- Joey Fatone. But Justin might let him caddie.