Can the Right Brand Name Actually Create a New Category?

Can the Right Brand Name Actually Create a New Category?

By David Placek

Can the right brand name actually create a new category? Consider the case of Callaway’s Big Bertha® driver. By the late ’80s, the golf club industry was drifting towards a commodity-like industry. Most companies offered similar products and new introductions concentrated on minor improvements and relatively minor claims.

In 1991, Callaway introduced the largest driver ever made — Big Bertha — a stand-out name with attitude. Big Bertha was about hope and power (mostly hope). Within three years, Callaway’s profits had increased five-fold to $250 million.

There is no question that the name made the launch of the line far more efficient and dramatic than if it had been called Callaway Big or Callaway Large or Callaway Pro.

Big Bertha put Callaway in a whole other league. As an avid golfer, I had to have one and so did just about everyone else out on the links.

Oversized clubs are now a major category in the golf world and you can’t argue with the club’s promise of performance and its dramatic style. Big Bertha got golfers’ attention, generated excitement, and let Callaway deliver the message.

Next time someone tells you that brand names aren’t strategic marketing tools, tell them the Big Bertha story.