Agency ‘func.media’ Named Emerging Brand of the Year for Rolo Golf alongside TikTok and Cazoo
The digital marketing agency has received global recognition alongside some major players for its work on Rolo Golf
In this year's annual edition of the Drum Awards for Marketing, func.media has been recognized alongside TikTok and Cazoo in the Emerging Brand of the Year category for its work on Rolo Golf - a golf brand launched by the agency in 2020 that has since achieved viral success fueled by a loyal online fanbase and some of North America's largest retailers.
The Drum Awards for Marketing seek to reward brands and agencies that deeply understand their customers. These awards are truly global and open to companies from anywhere in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa or the Americas. Among this year's nominees are some of the globe's largest brands - including the likes of Amazon, TikTok and Walmart.
Recently coined "a leader in the digital marketing movement" by Entrepreneur, func.media has experienced rapid growth since 2017. Founded by Cam Wilkie, Chase Dobbie and Everett Vane, a simple agency mission to cut the fluff in the marketing industry and provide functional, ROI-driven solutions has blossomed into more than 300 clients across North America, Europe and Asia.
In tandem with func's success on the client-side of the business, there was a budding opportunity to use the agency's proven recipe to create a brand of their own. Upon evaluating a number of markets, the golf industry was one that stuck. In addition to personal affinities, the industry reflected a market opportunity worth nearly $85 billion dollars.
Recognizing the lack of flare and personalization in golf attire, the agency quickly pulled together an initial product line and online presence. What followed was a number of encouraging proof points - including the first sale within minutes and thousands of golfers expressing interest in becoming an ambassador for Rolo Golf.
Since its subsequent launch in 2020, Rolo Golf has been making statements on and off the greens. The bold attire brand first gained its traction through a loyal fanbase online. Leveraging a strong e-commerce presence, a click-worthy content stream and a rabid follower base on Instagram, the brand would rank in the top 3% of eCommerce sites launched within the same period - releasing over 30 unique collections to date, with many selling out within minutes.
This strong traction has since led to interest from a number of retailers, including one of North America's largest, Golf Town. With big box stores averaging 18,000 square feet and locations nationwide, the retailer carries an unprecedented selection of the top brand names in golf. Rolo was picked up by the retailer as the only new brand selected for the Spring/Summer season, and since then, many collections have sold out in-store despite the limitations of the pandemic.
The momentum for Rolo has been fueled elsewhere as well, with the brand picked up by other notable retailers in the industry as well as a variety of public and private golf courses across North America. Beyond the loyal community of golfers online, the brand has been spotted on pro athletes and celebrities with the same enthusiasm. In 2021, Rolo has seen an increase of over 6,000% in sales through social media alone, with average order sizes growing by over 30% year over year - not to mention thousands of five-star reviews as a result.
In speaking to the company's roots, Chase shared that "we decided to name the company after my dog Rolo and made him the CEO - ‘Rolo Polo' just felt like it had a nice ring to it. From there, we established the branding that we'd build the foundation of our marketing on. While the shirts were being produced by our new supplier, we had our web team build out a customized Shopify site while our content team was producing assets for social media. Fast-forward a year and we were able to sell out every drop we released, getting picked up by Canada's largest golf retailer and some of the top courses across the country."
When it comes to the creative strategy, Everett highlights that "we recognized the game of golf was changing in terms of who's going out on the courses. There is a large portion of golfers that value a good time on the course more than perfecting their stroke. While most of the industry's top brands play it safe and traditional, we wanted to carve out an angle to be memorable and unique, tapping into that ‘when the world zigs, zag' mentality. We've wanted to grow and cater to a defined, passionate audience rather than be the golf brand for everyone."
In speaking to func.media's involvement, Cam notes that "we're always looking for ways to showcase our versatility and the unique offering that we bring to our clients as an agency. Rolo Golf was an opportunity to direct a brand of our own and bring it to market on our own terms. It's been rewarding as an agency to see the early success and the award nomination has been the icing on the cake for the first full year in business. I continue to be impressed with everyone involved in the success of Rolo Golf."
What originally started as a proof of concept for func.media has quickly turned into a self-sustaining company supported by new partners, major North American retailers, golf courses, and professional athletes - not to mention thousands of satisfied online customers. Beyond the Drum recognition, Rolo Golf has sustained the early momentum throughout the 2021 golf season with a growing online collection and retail partnerships solidified into the next calendar year.