T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
The man behind the viral 'Mike's Golf Shop' video ad
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Monday, November 25, 2013 | 12:10 p.m.
We're not ones for overkill, but we just can't get enough of Mike Mixson, owner of Mike's Golf Shop in Chattanooga, Tenn.
If you haven't seen it already, here's the video we posted late last week -- that's gone viral -- where Mixson leaves no room for question about what it is he does: He buys golf clubs.
While checking back on last week's stories this morning to see about any potential "follow ups" we noticed that the Mike's Golf Shop website had a complete redesign since Friday and -- at last check -- that video you just watched which had just a few thousand views three days ago was up over 257,000 at the time of this post.
Impressive stuff -- so much so that we put in a call to the newly famous Mike's Golf Shop to see if we could speak to the man himself. As the gentleman on the other end of the phone was jotting down my information to leave a message for Mixson, a booming, newly distinctive voice suddenly shot back, "Howdy, T.J.! This is Mike!"
You know that saying, "just like in the movies?" Well, this was, "just like in the commercial."
With that, here's my Q&A with the charismatic, funny and incredibly insightful Mixson:
PGA.com: All of this has to be a little overwhelming, no?
Mixson: Of course. There's no way you could predict this sort of response. There's no predicting that sort of thing. Heck no. I had no clue it would do anything close to this.
PGA.com: Tell me a little about the reaction you've gotten around Chattanooga in the last week or so since the video became famous.
Mixson: It's very odd. The world is stunned by it. I can go in anywhere wearing that Tennessee hat from the video and everyone knows who I am -- especially those under the age of 25. It's been the equivalent of setting off an advertising nuclear bomb!
PGA.com: Was this strictly an internet commercial? Or, did you actually have it on television in your area?
Mixson: I put it on Golf Channel here in Chattanooga a week ago. A radio talk show host here in town saw it at 2 in the morning and he was face down laughing. The next day on his show, all he did was talk about it. He works for a Cumulus station, so it spread like wildfire. Next thing I know, I'm on the radio in San Diego and this is going crazy. I think the most interesting thing so far is that marketing people -- Madison Avenue types -- love it more than anyone else. The cool thing for me is -- I've got 90 percent favorables. The average, run-of-the-mill person sees it and 90 percent like it. That's weird!
PGA.com: You yourself say, "it's weird." It's funny too. Is that just the kind of guy you are?
Mixson: Let's put it this way. The shrinks tell me I'm "extraordinarily demonstrative." I'm one of those guys who gets on a stage and loves it. Can't get enough of it. I don't mind doing what no man can do... or will do. That's what it boils down too. But there's a tremendous amount of marketing theory behind it too.
PGA.com: So this was calculated?
Mixson: Well, who knew it would turn into this? The last week has been like a roller coaster ride. Most of the uproars happened outside of Hamilton County, so they can't stop me from working, which is good. It's a cyber thing. I log in and read comments. It hasn't derailed me in a tremendous way. I think it's funny that you've got Jimmy Fallon and others seeing it and nobody knows what to do with it. I don't know why everyone is so amazed by it. It was a marketing lightening strike. OK, this thing got the job done. Anybody who sees it knows exactly what I'm doing forever now. I created a tremendous brand in 41 seconds.
PGA.com: What does that entail business-wise?
Mixson: So far I'm up about 340 percent business wise (as the result of the video). We know that sustainability is the critical key to all of this. I think I can maintain that increase. I have the capability to maintain that. Spring time will be awesome.
PGA.com: Can we all expect more videos?
Mixson: Probably much more videos than I've already done. I've been doing the golf shop for 18 months. I make a video and forget about it. Friends will see it and get a laugh or two on a Facebook post or whatever. You really start attracting the masses when you have an explosion like this one though. Now they're watching my guitar demo videos. There's a lot of stupid videos.
PGA.com: You yourself just called them, "stupid." Maybe so, but based on the reaction, it's also brilliant.
Mixson: I'm one of the guys on a lemonade stand -- I'm great at starting from nothing and going to something and doubling and tripling it in 36 months. I don't have any clue of the direction of the golf shop. I don't have a five-year plan, I have a 24-hour plan. I have people helping me. This attracted tremendous amount of attention and I have people helping me manage it. I'm head down buying clubs here -- I need to buy them to sell them. I have to keeping pounding that.
PGA.com: Is there a single thing about the fallout of the video that's surprised you the most?
Mixson: The most amazing thing is I instantly created this brand and it's 90 percent favorable. It won't be hard to get people to do business with me after this. It's strange what's happened in the golf and retail business in general, but everything goes back to handshake marketing and retail face-to-face, individual, caring transactions. The real amazing thing is that with the internet and Twitter, now planet Earth is my neighborhood.
PGA.com: We noticed your website today has a complete redesign since Friday. Was that planned and just a coincidence, or was it a result of the video's success?
Mixson: Throughout this whole thing in the last week, I have joined forces with a management group out in Nashville. There are certain things they take control of and the site is one of them, because I don't have time for it. There's more people involved and they're taking off with it. I released my responsibilities for that.
PGA.com: I'm dying to know -- what's your golf game like?
Mixson: What's my game like? Well, I'm a musician really -- an athlete in a musician's body. I don't have a 115 mph swing speed. It's got to be nice and dry for me to get it 265 yards out there. I struggle being straight off tee. I'm crooked. But my iron game? My iron-game in, I'm as good as anyone around here. I'm a 3 handicap and I don't have time to work on it. I play tournaments competitively, mainly from Jan. 1 through July 4. I've been playing since I was 9 years old and I love it.
There you have it, folks. Mike Mixson at Mike's Golf Shop in Chattanooga isn't just a funny man who buys golf clubs. He's also an intelligent marketing genius.
To learn more about Mike's Golf Shop -- and to see more videos (like the one below that Mixson calls, "The Commercial I Didn't Use") -- visit www.mikesgolfshop.com. You can also follow Mixson on Twitter, @mikesgolfshop.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
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