#18: Global Launch
If Arnold Palmer dreamed of one day becoming a household name, did his dreams include Japanese households?
In 1971 he signed a licensing deal with Renown, Japan’s top apparel-maker, which not only set the stage for Arnold Palmer to become a global brand, but for him to become a lifestyle brand as well—as Palmer himself discovered on a trip to Hong Kong in the 1990s. Regarding a hotel clerk who saw Palmer’s name on the register and excitedly mistook him for a shirt salesman, Palmer wrote in A Golfer’s Life, “He had no clue that I was the real Arnold Palmer—no idea, it quickly became clear, in fact, who or what Arnold Palmer did to have his name on the shirts. But thanks to Renown of Japan… He knew Arnold Palmer clothing very well indeed. For many years running, our signature line was the top-selling brand of all clothing lines in Japan, and the hotel clerk merely thought I was a salesman bringing the latest Palmer shirts to Hong Kong—proof that the brand name had developed a life of its own that exceeded that of the man himself.” Today the Renown deal endures and the Palmer brand continues to grow across the world, with more than 400 Arnold Palmer retail stores in Japan and more than 9,000 points of sale across Asia.