The RBC Heritage golf tournament got a new sponsor this past summer, and now it has a new logo and color scheme to match.
Gone is the familiar "Gentleman Golfer" figure that has long adorned the logo of Hilton Head Island's annual PGA Tour event. So is the red hue that dominates the tournament's signature tartan pattern. In their place are the Royal Bank of Canada's corporate logo and its blue and gold tones.
The Gentleman Golfer figure -- officially named Sir William Innes and affectionately known by tournament staffers as "Willie" -- will still appear in the logo of the Heritage Classic Foundation, the nonprofit group that conducts the tournament, according to tournament director Steve Wilmot. It also will continue to be used in some tournament signs, advertisements and merchandise, according to marketing director Angela McSwain.
"When you deal with corporate America, there are some do's and don'ts that go along with the use of colors, as far as what can and can't be used in conjunction with their corporate logos," Wilmot said. "... Honestly, (RBC) wanted to get Willie in there somehow, but we just couldn't come up with a good way to make that work. This was sort of a compromise."
The tournament also will continue its "Get Your Plaid On" promotional campaign, much of which includes an actor dressed as Sir William Innes. That character made appearances across the state and at community events to publicize the past two tournaments. The promotion was recognized earlier this year by the PGA Tour Tournament Advisory Council as the tour's best advertising campaign.
But much of the tournament's branding has been or will be changed. The tournament is still working to incorporate the new logo into business cards, letterhead and materials used to solicit sponsors. A new website -- www.rbcheritage.com -- got a makeover and a low-key launch last week.
"With the timing, we probably missed some opportunities to do a big announcement or event to showcase the logo and all the changes, but some decisions are still being made," Wilmot said. "We needed to get the new website up, though, because online ticket sales" started this week.
Other logistics related to logo and name changes are still being determined. For instance, in state and regional promotions, the tournament will be referred to as the "RBC Heritage presented by Boeing," but signs that might appear on the tournament's national broadcast April 12-15 won't bear Boeing's name. That's because RBC paid for television commercials, as is required of PGA Tour title sponsors, but Boeing has not.
The RBC Heritage is the 10th different name under which the tournament has operated. Previous changes also have entailed breaks from tradition. For instance, the tournament was called the MCI Classic from 1995 to 2000, wiping "Heritage" from the official title, though it was still known colloquially by that name.
Wilmot said he pushed hard -- and successfully -- to ensure the Gentleman Golfer remained a part of the tournament logo in 2006, after Verizon replaced its subsidiary, MCI, as the title sponsor.
Verizon or its corporate predecessors served as title sponsor of each tournament between 1987 and 2010. When the telecommunications company decided to end that relationship, the Heritage searched 14 months for a replacement before striking a deal with RBC.
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