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January 27, 2010

Who wouldn't want to explore the Bowling Capital of the World?

Posted on Wed Jan 27 2010


An appendix item in the Textbook of Branding is the practice of christening a destination as the [fill in the blank] Capital of the World. This age-old tactic, perfected by tourism bureaus everywhere, wouldn't seem of much use to major brands—until you consider the cross-pollination possibilities. Case in point: Battle Creek, Mich., lays claim to being the Cereal Capital of the World because it's home to Kellogg's. But Kellogg's benefits nicely from this regional branding because it can siphon visitors over to its Cereal City USA interactive museum (which of course will tell you everything you want to know about Froot Loops and Special K). Avon, Ohio, happens to be the Duct Tape Capital of the World because it's home to Henkel Consumer Adhesives, maker of the Duck brand, which sponsors the Duct Tape Festival each year (and on Father's Day, no less.) Hartford, Conn., the Insurance Capital of the World, doesn't exactly draw millions of visitors to office towers of Aetna and Travelers, but it can use any boost it can get.
  Which brings us to Arlington, Texas. Just last month, the city proclaimed itself to be the Bowling Capital of the World. Is there some kind of bowling-industry link to Arlington? Well, you could say that.

  Arlington is home to the new International Bowling Campus (IBC), a 100,000-square-foot complex designed to roll bowling (a $10 billion pastime) into the 21st century, much to the delight of our great nation's bowling brands and bowling centers. The IBC's myriad bowling tenants include the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, which used to be in St. Louis (currently showing: "The Future: Computerized Coaching, Robotic Simulation and Bowlopolis"), and a 20-lane International Training and Research Center that boasts a robotic ball-thrower and biomechanics analysis to track human bowling movements. Uh, guess you gotta be there.
  "In recent years, our industry has really come together in building a brand for bowling and elevating its image," Steve Johnson, executive director of the Bowling Proprietors' Association, told BrandFreak. "Now, all of the leading entities in the industry are under a single roof." Johnson also pointed out that bowling's partner brands—Pepsi, VH1 and Jolly Time among them—are benefiting from sport's newfound cachet. Paris Hilton, Ashton Kutcher and Rihanna have all been spotted knocking pins of late. And while those celebs probably won't be turning up in Arlington anytime soon, it doesn't matter. When you're the Bowling Capital of the World, you can afford not to care.

—Posted by Robert Klara


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