Who will gain the most from Driver vs. Driver competition?

By: August 25, 2016

In less than 40 days, Wilson Golf’s crowdsourcing, reality show the Driver vs. Driver will end. Golf Channel announced today the 11 finalists who will present their innovative driver concepts and ideas with the hopes of ultimately becoming Wilson Golf’s newest driver for 2017 on a new, first-of-its-kind television series, Driver vs. Driver presented by Wilson. The series premieres Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 10 p.m. ET.

Driver vs. Driver will follow the trials and tribulations of aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the chance to win $500,000, and the opportunity to have their driver design sold at retail under the Wilson Staff name.

The finalists, selected through an open call application process, will present to a panel of celebrity judges – former Chicago Bears linebacker and avid golfer Brian Urlacher, former USGA Technical Director Frank Thomas and President of Wilson Golf Tim Clarke – during the series’ first two episodes. Two-time PGA TOUR winner and Wilson Advisory Staff member Kevin Streelman joins the series as a judge beginning with the third episode.

DRIVER VS. DRIVER -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- (Photo by: Tasos Katopodis/Golf Channel)

How could the Driver vs. Driver crowdsourcing reality show bring tangible results?

I don’t have to explain why was a good choice to select Golf Channel. In 2015, the NBC Sports Group reached 73 million unique viewers via Golf Channel and NBC broadcasts. In the very same year, Golf Channel Digital attracted more than 105 million visits (it would be useful if Golf Channel would share with us the UNIQUE visitor number).

Today you cannot avoid using social media to generate awareness and grow your sales. However, not every social media platform is equal. Today’s connected customers are looking for personal and shareable experiences.

This why I miss so much from the Driver vs. Driver reality show, the sharing and involvement experience. Wilson Golf could have used the communication techniques of American Idol and other reality shows’ to generate more awareness, interest, and buzz.

Although the idea of combining crowdsourcing with a reality show is a good one, Wilson Golf was not able to exploit the communication opportunities of social and online media (both owned, paid and earned):

  • Facebook page: after more than a year it has only 9 fans
  • Website: I really miss the conversations on the website and the social media plug-ins to show how many people are talking about the program and the competition (check out the Callaway Golf website as a good example).
  • Golf Channel:  – I found only 4 videos (after a year!!) on the Golf Channel website. Why there was no video about every single event? Where is the cheering for the contenders?
  • Periscope – Golf Channel:  Live streaming is one of the big trends and hits of 2016. Among the many live streaming solutions, Periscope is the most relevant one for Wilson Golf’s potential customers. It has got 100 million users, 71% of the users are men. Golf Channel has got 31,304 followers on Periscope.
  • Instagram: 4 official photos on Wilson Golf Instagram account.
  • We cannot neglect the trend that video has gone social. This means that YouTube and Vimeo are losing momentum while Snapchat (10+ billion daily views) and Facebook (8+ billion daily views) are growing by enabling hosting videos on their own platforms. Here you can find Callaway Golf’s #ChromeSoftCostume Party Snapchat competition from 2015. You can find Callaway Golf Snapchat account as callawaysnaps. Other golf Snapchat accounts:
    • PING: pingtour
    • Under Armour:  underarmour,
    • TaylorMade: TaylorMadeGolf,
    • Golf Channel: golfchannel,
    • Michelle Wie: themichellewie,
    • Rickie Fowler: rickiefowler15,
    • Bubba Watson:  thebubbawatson,
    • PGA Tour:  pgatoursnaps,
    • Rick Shiels:  rickshielspga,
    • Mark Crossfield (@askgolfguru).
  • Another missed opportunity is the usage of messaging apps like WhatsApp (cca. 1 billion users), We Chat, Facebook messenger.

So, here is the bottom line:

  • Good creative concept to generate engagement and be more relevant to the future generations;
  • We should not underestimate or neglect the multi-screen phenomenon where mobiles and tablets are gaining momentum;
  • We should give a much bigger role to social media and within it to messaging, video and photo sharing platforms to be able to generate awareness and buzz and harvest the interest in our products and collect consumer insights.

DRIVER VS. DRIVER -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- (Photo by: Tasos Katopodis/Golf Channel)