HOPKINSVILLE, Kent. – Ebonite International helped introduce bowling to a non-traditional audience through its sponsorship of the PBA Celebrity Invitational hosted by Chris Paul. This season-opening event of the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA 50th Anniversary Tour was heavily promoted and televised on ESPN on Sunday, Oct. 19.
“As a leader in the industry, we believe growing the sport is an obligation,” said Bob Reid, Ebonite International’s vice president of sales and marketing. “This event presented a unique opportunity to not only showcase our products and our talented pro staff players on ESPN, but also a way to bring added exposure to our sport through NBA celebrity involvement. We were able to reach a whole new audience of bowlers to show them how fun competitive bowling can be.”
Five PBA pros from the brands of Ebonite International (Tommy Jones and Jason Couch for Ebonite, Chris Barnes for Columbia 300, Doug Kent for Hammer and Mitch Beasley for Track) teamed with five NBA stars (Chris Paul, LeBron James, Rudy Gay, Kevin Durant and DeWayne Wade) to compete in a one-of-a-kind, made for TV bowling event that paired bowling and basketball champions against one another for charity, specifically the Chris Paul Foundation founded by the New Orleans Hornets guard.
As part of its sponsorship, the company also purchased four ad spots that coined the phrase, “They Ruined Bowling.” A fictitious character named Dale Jenkins posed the question in four ads spots for Ebonite, Hammer, Columbia 300 and Track and, in a humorous way, explained to consumers that the technology behind the ball is an important aspect of bowling as well. The ad spots were part of a marketing campaign that included postings on YouTube, online forums and the web site, www.theyruinedbowling.com.
“The Dale Jenkins persona was a fun and humorous way of getting people to consider their bowling ball and how the right technology in their hands can improve their score,” said Reid. “We also used these spots to educate viewers on the role of the pro shop. Hopefully, we can help our industry move the needle.”
Pro staff members from the four ball brands of Ebonite International will compete on the national Tour this season, including Columbia 300’s Chris Barnes, reigning Player of the Year. Barnes’ wife, Lynda, and Colombia bowling star, Clara Guerrero, will also be competing in the PBA Women’s Series events this season on behalf of Columbia 300.
Visit any of the brand web sites for more information on your favorite equipment, Tour players and season news: www.ebonite.com; www.hammerbowling.com; www.columbia300.com and www.trackbowling.com.
Based in Hopkinsville, Kent., Ebonite International is a privately-owned company that currently services bowling centers, distributors and retail outlets both domestically and internationally. The company's consumer product brands include Ebonite, Hammer, Robby's, Columbia 300, Track and Powerhouse™. Its commercial product brands are Ebonite VanTech Capital Equipment, Vantage Genuine Parts and Ebonite Bowling Center Direct.