When news broke of the Bridgestone Golf and St. Andre partnership, a couple of questions immediately crossed my mind.
The first: “Who—or what—is St. Andre?”
The second: “What did this Andre guy do to qualify for beatification, let alone canonization?”
Sunday School jokes aside, the Bridgestone Golf partnership with St. Andre may feel like another OEM-social media influencer partnership. In many ways it is. But when compared to the Good Good/Callaway and No Laying Up/Titleist partnerships, this one’s very different.
This one is strictly for fun.
And maybe some brand awareness on the side.
OK, so maybe it’s just a little different.
Bridgestone x St André
This is serious! Well, not really. But it’s going to be super fun! pic.twitter.com/I37dSLBnBo
— Bridgestone Golf (@bridgestonegolf) March 21, 2023
Bridgestone Golf and St. Andre
If you’re an Instagram Reels scroller, you’ve probably scrolled across some St. Andre content without even knowing it. St. Andre is a four-person, Atlanta-based sketch comedy troupe that’s chosen golf content as its social media muse.
“We connected through some mutual friends here in Atlanta and took it from there,” Bridgestone Senior Marketing Manager Adam Rehberg tells MyGolfSpy. “They’re super into golf and understand the landscape.”
St. Andre specializes in short-form comic videos featuring four average (OK, below average) golfers and their very relatable on-course escapades. If you play golf for fun with your buddies, the hijinks do hit home more often than not.
“If you’re an avid golfer, you kind of get what they’re doing,” says Rehberg. “It’s a sort of an ‘if you know, you know’ thing.”
The St. Andre group performed at Bridgestone’s national sales meeting in January and has some content in the hopper featuring Tiger, Lexi, Fred Couples, Matt Kuchar and Jason Day.
“We have a bunch of good content that we’ll be releasing in the next few weeks,” says Rehberg. “They may show up at a Korn Ferry event and they may show up at ball-fitting events. There’s a lot of unique content coming.”
What’s the Point of Social Media Partnerships?
If you find yourself thinking this partnership might not make you buy Bridgestone golf balls, you might not be the right demographic.
And if you find yourself declaring that this partnership will definitely keep you from buying Bridgestone golf balls, you’re definitely not the right demographic.
Deals such as this or the partnerships between Good Good and Callaway or No Laying Up and Titleist are really just another spoke in the great big marketing wheel. By itself, a single spoke doesn’t do much. But it takes all the spokes to make the wheel go round and round.
“We’ve always been consumer-based,” says Bridgestone Golf Ball Marketing Manager Elliot Mellow. “And these guys speak to every golfer.”
“We take golf balls very seriously,” adds Rehberg. “But we don’t take ourselves as seriously. These guys have a really good flavor of humor that we really like.”
Bridgestone has embraced humor in its marketing before. Tiger’s “You’re back there” ad, as well as the scientific ball ads with both Tiger and Bryson, will make you laugh. But social media is the thing and Bridgestone sees St. Andre as a way to reach golf’s hoodie and joggers generation.
“Golf is becoming more relaxed and these guys embrace that,” says Rehberg. “They don’t take themselves too seriously. We’re poking a little fun at ourselves and the things we do as golfers.”
— Bridgestone Golf (@bridgestonegolf) March 15, 2023
Is It Quantifiable?
No doubt you have heard the old adage about marketing dollars: 50 percent of what you spend works like a champ and 50 percent of what you spend is a total waste.
The hard part is knowing which is which.
So can Bridgestone—or Callaway, Titleist or anyone else partnering with a social media group—really know if they’re getting a return? The answer is a somewhat qualified yes.
“We work with Datatech on a bi-annual survey on brand sentiment,” says Mellow. “They look at net promoter scores and things of that nature. ‘Are you aware of Bridgestone?’ or ‘How likely are you to buy Bridgestone?’
“We can look at that quarterly and yearly. We can’t 100 percent correlate those responses to things like what we’re doing with St. Andre but we can look at the cause and effect and relate that to some of the things we’ve been doing over a specific time period.”
“It’s great to see videos with Jason, Fred and Tiger but we also want to relate to the regular weekend golfers,” adds Rehberg. “We see St. Andre as a way to connect with the everyday golfer.”
Bridgestone Golf and St. Andre: What’s Next?
As mentioned, Bridgestone has a ton of St. Andre content with their PGA TOUR staff filmed and ready to roll.
“It’s going to be unique in that Tiger won’t be the star,” says Mellow. “St. Andre is the star. It’s like inserting our athletes into their existing world.”
“You’re going to catch these guys in not-so-normal situations that you’d never see a Tiger, Jason, Lexi or Fred in,” adds Rehberg. “We took our pros out of their comfort space and had them do some funny stuff the everyday golfer can relate to.”
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This growing trend of OEMs partnering with social media influencers isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s a social media world now and businesses are just now figuring out how to best use it. Will you buy more Tour B golf balls because of the Bridgestone-St. Andre partnership? That’s probably not the right question to ask.
The right question to ask is will this partnership create more positive brand awareness for the target audience? You may find it silly or you may find it funny. But all Bridgestone really cares about is if you find it at all.
Especially if you wear hoodies and play golf for, gulp, fun.