Epson teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal three years ago to assist the world avoid the headache of continually changing printer ink cartridges. O’Neal became the face of the game-changing EcoTank printers, which use supersized ink tanks instead of cartridges.
That’s how a colossal O’Neal ended up in Atlanta, filming a video with the diminutive Rachel Rohanna to promote Epson’s new five-year deal as the LPGA’s official qualifying tour’s title sponsor.
“I was around 2 feet shorter,” Rohanna explained. “I’m used to looking up to people, but he had my golf club in his palm and it looked like a toothpick.”
Shaq’s social media networks will debut the web commercial on Wednesday. The former NBA great and TV personality has 24 million Instagram followers, 15.6 million Twitter followers, and 9.2 million Facebook fans, as well as his own reality program, “Shaq Life.”
Everything about the Epson Tour’s partnership with the LPGA has been top-notch so far, from small details like cutting entrance fees by 10% ($50) to bigger ones like guaranteed prizes of at least $200,000 and $10,000 sponsorship opportunities for tour grads. And then there’s Shaq.
Qualifying tours aren’t usually associated with celebrities.
“For a long time, I’ve been thinking about how we could get into golf,” said Keith Kratzberg, CEO of Epson America, Inc.
“The many parts of sponsorship entail a lot of work. The charitable side of professional golf is quite significant…. We asked ourselves throughout the qualification trip, “What’s truly crucial here?”
The extra effort is much appreciated by the players.
“I thought it was remarkable that a major company like Epson was pouring money into the tour, and not simply saying, here’s some money, now you’re on the tour, move on with your life,” said Epson graduate Fatima Fernandez Cano.
“They’re truly rooting for us, rooting for women’s golf,” she says.
Rohanna, the first mother to complete the Epson Tour, admitted that it was nerve-wracking to try out her acting skills in front of Shaq for the first time, but that he made their hour together “cool.”
“It constantly amazes me that people have never heard of the Epson Tour, formerly the Symetra Tour,” Rohanna said. I think it’s amazing for everyone to have someone like Shaq… he’s a great guy in general… to have this many followers and announce it and truly be thrilled about it.
“It’s going to be tremendous,” says the narrator.
Shaq was invited to a pro-am and a tour of the family farm in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, by Rohanna.
“The way I see it, it’s only the beginning,” said Kevin Garton, Epson’s Head of Brand Strategy and Marketing.
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