Advil Western Open
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Advil Western Open

The Advil Western Open was a six-day event that Carter Ryley Thomas (CRT) coordinated on behalf of Advil as a vehicle to promote Advil’s natural association with golf, build brand awareness in Chicago.

Paul Holmes

The Advil Western Open was a six-day event that Carter Ryley Thomas (CRT) coordinated on behalf of Advil as a vehicle to promote Advil’s natural association with golf, build brand awareness in Chicago (one of Advil’s top three markets), and enhance relationships with key national and regional customers.  CRT worked with Advil to create a multi-tier program that achieved the goals established by the client.


Research has shown that Advil is one of the top five non golf-related items found in most golf bags.  Knowing this, Advil wanted to build upon this natural tie to golf and muscle aches.  They also wanted to increase market penetration in Chicago, Advil’s third largest U.S. market.  The perfect tie-in presented itself with the opportunity to sponsor the Western Open, a highly recognizable national PGA Tour golf tournament, and the third oldest golf championship in the world.  CRT worked with Advil to negotiate title sponsorship. The objectives were to increase Advil brand awareness in its primary (Chicago) and secondary (national) markets, and to provide a premier hospitality venue for key national and regional Advil customers.


CRT developed numerous strategies to leverage the AWO sponsorship.  These included:

  • Developing a series of consumer promotions; 
  • Hosting a prestigious customer hospitality event; 
  • Creating a media relations campaign integrating consumer promotions & sponsorship; 
  • Increasing market share in Chicago market by 1 Point = $1 million; 
  • Using consumer promotions & hospitality to strengthen retailer relationships. 


Consumer Promotions

Advil Dad of the Millennium – A regional FSI targeting 4 million Chicago-area households featured an essay contest (100 words or less) explaining why your father should be the Advil Dad of the Millennium.  The FSI was supported with in-store displays and media relations.  Winners were selected and honored at a special presentation at the tournament.  The grand prize winner won the chance to play in the Pro-Am tournament with Advil spokesperson and championship golfer Raymond Floyd.

Golf Ball Co-Pack Promotion – A limited edition golf ball was produced with the AWO logo in a box that highlighted Cog Hill’s (host Country Club of the AWO) signature hole, attached to a box of Advil 50’s.  This offer was supported by in-store displays.

AWO Day at Wrigley Field – CRT saw two long-time Chicago traditions (Cubs and AWO) and Advil’s spokesperson, Nolan Ryan as an awareness building opportunity.  Elements included a news conference, Advil Dad of the Millennium throwing out the first pitch, AWO ticket brochures to all attendees and scoreboard signage.

Medical Marketing – Advil’s sales force used tickets to Advil’s VIP Sky Boxes as a door opener to local physicians.

Entrance Tent and Sampling – More than 80% of 188,000+ tournament attendees enter through one entrance, a tent that Advil turned into a hands-on golf experience for the AWO visitor.  Key tent elements included: interactive putting and chipping games tied to Advil’s theme “Play Pain Free,” a sports memorabilia raffle and sampling.  Game entry forms served as a consumer data gathering point. 

Customer Hospitality – Advil hosted more than 2,000 top national and regional customers throughout the tournament week.  In addition to coordinating all guest travel and accommodation, CRT/Advil sponsored significant hospitality efforts during tournament week.  Key hospitality elements included:  Pro-Am slots for 50 key customers, customized AWO Pro-Am gift packages, VIP Sky Box hospitality, access for more than 2,000 customers to VIP Sky Boxes with daily gifts, organized dinners and events for guests, a PGA player family party and 24-hour hotel hospitality.  

Media Relations – CRT used each consumer promotion program and the tournament to direct our media relations effort.  CRT worked with ABC Sports to strategically place signage to maximize on-air presence and to prepare ABC’s on-air talent with Advil information.  Pre-tournament interest was generated through the annual AWO Media Day featuring Ray Floyd and defending champion Tiger Woods.  CRT also had a staffer on-site in the AWO Media Room during tournament week.


Achieved 1 Point Share increase during promotion period April – July (15.1 Share vs. 14.0 Share = an incremental $4 million in sales during that four month period)

During July, Share increase was up to 16.2 Share

Dominick’s (large Chicago customer) reached a record 29.6 Share

Incremental Factory Sales (in-store displays) of $700,000

Medical Sales reached doctors they had never been able to reach – after these visits, many doctors said they would make Advil their first choice by name and/or add Advil by name to their patient discharge sheets

Distributed 400,000+ samples of Advil during the tournament

Executive Vice President of Marketing called the event “the most effective sampling effort yet”

Advil Dad of the Millennium FSI received a 25% higher redemption rate than Advil’s 4/2/00 national FSI and a 10% higher redemption rate than Advil’s 1/3/00 national FSI

Extensive media coverage of the Dad of the Millennium and AWO Day at Wrigley Field included coverage on the local Milwaulkee ABC affiliate (X2), coverage on WGN and Chicago ABC affiliate, numerous call-in interviews with key Chicago radio stations, coverage in Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times and extensive local and community newspaper coverage throughout Chicago

Total media coverage of the Advil Western Open generated more than 365,914,643 impressions and more than 58 minutes and 39 seconds of on-air coverage on ESPN and ABC Sports

Advil Dad of the Millennium feature on the Golf Channel during tournament week

Value of media impressions and on-air coverage is a conservative $4-5 million
Total value of sales increases, media coverage/impressions, consumer promotions and sampling = $8-10 million

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