Imagine teeing off at the John Deere Classic using a 470G excavator or driving a John Deere Gator to retrieve a ball from a pond.
That may sound unbelievable, but several new displays at this year’s John Deere Classic are showing off equipment on the course in ways never imagined.
The point is to grab people’s attention and build excitement for the fans, while also promoting the John Deere brand, said Jason Cherry, manager Brand Communication & Corporate Identity, John Deere.
“We were brainstorming fun, unique ways to showcase our equipment, and that’s where non-traditional displays came into play,” Cherry said.
What are some examples? Here are just a few:
- In the pond by the 18th green fans will see a Gator — the kind with four wheels — rising from the water onto a miniature island.
- On the driving range, players may take aim at round haybales with bullseyes on them. The source of the haybales? A John Deere baler. And golf fans should take note of the brand team’s fresh twist on a “bucket of balls.”
- On equipment hill, fans can pose for pictures in front of a 470G excavator with an oversized (golf club) driver head attached. In front is an equally large teed-up golf ball ready to launch. Fore!
- Mowing equipment used to groom fairways and greens — and the pathways that connect them —are also on hand to welcome players and fans.
The idea was to do something different that would drive more engagement with the Deere brand, Cherry said.
Making a Statement on the Course
Fun, interactive displays can be found throughout TPC Deere Run during the John Deere Classic.
Making a Statement on the Course
Catching Their Attention
Many of the displays were designed with social media in mind, to encourage attendees to take their pictures with the equipment and share the experience with friends.
“We think it will be really fun social engagement for the fans,” Cherry said. “It’s a little more lighthearted than what we’ve done in the past. Something to keep the tournament fresh, a bit of ‘shock and awe’ for repeat attendees.”
The displays are also meant to catch the attention of Deere employees. It’s important, Cherry said, that everyone working at Deere takes pride in protecting, but also promoting the Deere brand.
“We want folks internally to take notice as well,” he said. “We want everyone living, breathing, and doing their part to elevate the brand. ‘Innovation’ is one of our core values. Bring your fresh ideas and out-of-the-box concepts to the table. Help push the envelope, and the conversation.”
Audrey Roman, associate director – Brand Management, John Deere, said Deere has tried new tactics each year at the tournament to immerse fans in the Deere brand and make them more familiar with the company’s equipment. Other companies that sponsor PGA events, such as BMW and Traveler’s Insurance, have served as inspiration, she added.
“Every year we’re taking our game up a notch,” she said. “We see it as an opportunity to say something important about our brand and to be a truly active event sponsor.”
Last year the company made the Family Zone tent more immersive by including things like virtual reality, equipment simulators, and a long-putt manned by a ball-retrieving robot.
“The PGA has said it’s one of the best family experiences it’s seen,” Roman said.
And this is only the beginning. Cherry said Deere’s brand team came up with close to 50 display ideas for this year’s tournament, but ultimately narrowed the list to just a handful to execute for 2018. Concepts on the cutting room floor — or new ideas altogether — may still be used in years to come.
“We’ll see how these go and potentially do some more next year as well,” he said. “We hope this impacts the brand far beyond the attention it brings to the Classic, and helps fans connect with the brand in ways they haven’t before.”
Concept/Ideation: John Deere Brand Management design team (Jason Cherry, Bruce Hutton, Tom Marchese)
Creative Direction: Jason Cherry
Art Direction: Tom Marchese, Bruce Hutton
Copywriting: Dustin Lemmon
Fabrication and Installation: Edwards Creative