In 2011 the Honda Classic came to KO-MAR with a challenge. Create a PSA campaign that helped raise awareness for the charity work they did for the Community. They had a very successful PGA Tour event, in fact it’s the biggest sporting event in Palm Beach County, but they wanted to do a better job letting people know the real mission of the tournament. As a nonprofit, the Honda Classic’s main goal is to raise money for charity.
I met with Tournament Director Ed McEnroe and Marketing Director Bill Decker and together we decided to gather several of their key charities and let these charities talk about the impact the Honda Classic had. We bookended the spots around the two key figures of the event, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus. We shot those first commercials in our studio and did them in black and white to increase the visual impact and spotlight the charities and the people that were impacted. That first year the Honda was giving away a little over a million dollars a year.
The next year we suggested using real success stories. We focused on the human element and how these dollars really impact individual lives. At my core, I’m a story-teller. Every commercial, every marketing video, every Network show I produce and direct I try to always stay true to one guiding principle. Tell a good story. The Honda found a remarkable young woman named Kiera with a powerful story.
We shoot these commercials in a few hours. The framing of the shots and the lighting is key. It’s a small crew. When you’re invading someone’s life, particularly a family who has suffered a tragedy, the less people the better. These commercials were done by a crew of 4-5 people.
As the tournament grew, so did the campaign. Over the years we’ve spotlighted a series of remarkable people and truly wonderful charities. The Honda has done a great job in helping pick the subjects. These young men and women and their families have seen remarkable recoveries thanks in part to the charitable donations of the Honda Classic.
In 2017, we suggested expanding the campaign. We created traditional 30 second commercials, but also created longer form videos that advanced the story telling. This allowed for more content to be played on multiple platforms. The longer form videos gave us a chance to delve into the story in a deeper way than 30 seconds would allow.
The 2017 campaign featured traditional TV advertising for the PSA commercials. The second phase was the digital campaign – The video was repurposed for each of the Honda Classic digital channels. Finally, onsite at the tournament itself, multiple billboards were placed throughout the course highlighting the stories told over the years.
This multi-tiered approach has paid off in a huge way. The dollars that the Honda Classic gives back to the community now are staggering. Under Executive Director Ken Kennerly, Tournament Director Andrew George and their staff, the Honda’s attendance has grown at an incredible rate and so has their charitable giving. In 2011 when we started it was over a million dollars. In 2017 the Honda gave out in excess of 3 million dollars. All of us at KO-MAR Productions are proud of the small part we’ve played in that growth.