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Bowling Strikes With Advertisers

When advertising creative teams and brand managers gather to discuss new campaigns, they always hone in on one major question: What’s going to connect with consumers? And, over the years, many times the answer has been bowling.

Turn on your TV today and your are more than likely going to see ads created around bowling as brands like Old Navy, Geico, Bridgestone, Groupon and others tap into the popularity of the sport.

Old Navy

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ISpot Ad

“With more than 67 million Americans taking to the lanes each year, bowling is as strong as ever. It’s that appeal that continues to attract marketers – and consumers – to our sport,” said John Harbuck, president of Strike Ten Entertainment, the marketing arm of the bowling industry.

Advertisers are drawn to bowling’s status as a mainstay of pop culture as they seek to capitalize on the platform that bowling provides to get their clients’ messages out.

Ads Img

“Bowling is a part of the American fabric of life and, particularly for consumer brands,resonates well as a backdrop for the advertisement of products,” said Tim Smith, president of Chemistry Agency, an Ad Age Agency of the Year. “The fact that bowlers span from children through active seniors gives marketers a broad platform to work with….and it’s timeless. Brands such as Budweiser, Odor Eaters, Baby Ruth and Wheaties have been capitalizing on the universal popularity of bowling for decades.”

Bowling not only appears in advertising but it is often used as a marketing platform in other ways. Companies like PepsiCo, Nationwide, MillerCoors and Sixlets have been activating promotions and campaigns in bowling centers for years.

“When consumers are at a bowling center with friends, the nature of the game is that they spend 75 percent of the time not bowling. Marketing to this ‘captive’ audience has translated to tremendous sales growth over the past three years,” said Joe Annunziato, Sixlets Senior Brand Manager.

PepsiCo, a longtime partner of the bowling industry, has also reaped the benefits of its connection to bowling. “With so many people bowling each year in thousands of bowling centers across the country, messaging to this large, passionate group has been of great value to us,” said Cara McGarry, PepsiCo Senior Customer Marketing Manager.

In 2016, Pepsi created a special bowling emoji bottle as part of a national campaign. Consumers finding the Pepsi bowling bottle were rewarded with a free game of bowling.

Pepsi Ad

“Iconic consumer brands like Pepsi have long recognized the power of bowling even beyond advertising, leveraging the sport through thousands of bowling centers, pro tours and other non-traditional outlets the sport provides. This is a real differentiator between bowling and other sports from a marketing perspective,” added Harbuck.

For more information on how bowling can benefit your organization’s marketing efforts, visit

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