Serving a brand ace
By Nathalie Kinsbursky
What is British summertime without the iconic Wimbledon Championships? As July fast approaches, get ready for grunt-filled rallies, flawless tennis whites, and slo-mo diving replays of Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer, alongside some of the most inspiring ad campaigns of the year.
To celebrate and expand the interest of The Championships 2018, the All England Club (AELTC) developed the ♯TakeOnHistory campaign. The animated video walks fans through the 150 years of Wimbledon, from its 1877 origins all the way to the present day.
AELTC are not the only ones, however, who have developed marketing campaigns to honour and capitalize on Wimbledon. Over 300,000 million home-spectators tune in live across over 200 countries, and millions of social media followers engage in the build-up of The Championships. Brands that can break through the clutter can leverage this opportunity to grow their following and share their brand message internationally. With that in mind, here are four of our favourite brands that have utilized Wimbledon’s traditions and overall brand equity to create innovative and fresh campaigns.
Robinsons, Wimbledon’s official soft drink sponsor, has been a large figure in the ad space of The Championships since 1935. However, our favourite campaign is The Great Robinsons Ball Hunt which took place in 2015, with Tim Henman as the face. Robinsons followers on Twitter were challenged with a national scavenger hunt, supported by daily posts which announced clues to find hidden giant tennis balls. Anyone that found these huge fuzzy neon balls had a chance to win prizes that varied from small free merchandise to VIP tickets to The Championships. The clever campaign encouraged fans to truly engage with the Robinsons brand, reaching younger audiences that are so often found on social media by bringing the contest to them.
Now, let’s talk about Rufus! Stella Artois generated a visually eye-catching as well as tongue-in-cheek film piece about Wimbledon’s official pigeon “scarer”. Throughout the ad, the hawk Rufus demonstrates his professionalism, athletic precision, and troubles with his competitors (the pigeons). Does this sound similar? It should! Rufus clearly represents the Wimbledon athletes and their experiences with competition at The Championships. This out-of-the-box commercial delivers a new perspective of Wimbledon, revealing how the little details are what make this sporting event magnificent. Similar to the Wimbledon experience, Stella Artois is made by hardworking hands who have carefully crafted their beer to perfection. The beer brand found its point of differentiation not by focusing on taste, but on brand personality and recall.
Evian was another brand that tapped into the power of Twitter and Instagram, utilizing these platforms to launch their ♯wimblewatch campaign. The multi-channel content involved a daily video series hosted by celebrities, bloggers, and fans encouraging other Wimbledon audiences to share their reactions to The Championships. The most engaging posts were made into a collective video that generated enthusiasm leading up to the finalists. What is so provoking about Evian’s strategy is that it allowed fans watching on their sofas at home to feel closer to the spectators in the stands as well as the athletes on the courts. Evian’s marketing campaign is a prestige example of sporting events’ capacity to provide opportunities for fans and players to express themselves as well as come together from all sorts of walks of life.
Robinsons & KFC
In 2017, Robinsons and KFC teamed up for the KFC Wimbledon Broadway restaurant, serving Robinsons drinks in KFC during the two weeks of the tournament. This was a clever cobranding that helped to promote both brands and encourage sales. The partnership provided the American KFC brand an opportunity to work with a well-known British company, and further connect to British Wimbledon traditions. Robinsons, on the other hand, was able to expand brand recognition and reach new KFC audiences.
To create some social buzz, a giant interactive tennis version of the arcade game Pong was placed outside of the restaurant in the Wimbledon town centre. This touchscreen game allowed tennis fans to engage with both brands in a fun and memorable way. When people weren’t playing the game, the window acted as a platform to advertise the two brands side-by-side. The campaign also included a national sampling tour that was hosted in 6 major cities. But wait, there’s more! KFC consumers also were able to join the KFC Colonel’s Club, which entered them in a competition to win either a Fitbit or Wimbledon Final tickets. Overall, this campaign reveals that not everyone should be viewed as the competition, but sometimes as a potential doubles partner that widens the court you are both playing on.
Engage your target audience
With these fascinating ads in mind, We're excited to sit down with our strawberries and cream and enjoy the brave commercials, adverts, and social campaigns to come in The Championships 2018. We can certainly expect to see campaigns from Wimbledon’s 12 sponsors (Slazenger, Robinsons, IBM, Lanson, Ralph Lauren, HSBC, Evian, Lavazza, Stella Artois, Jaguar Land Rover, Haagen-Dazs, Pimm’s), but with technological innovation on the rise, there is no doubt that ads will not be the only channel of distribution. We expect the Wimbledon brand itself to expand its social media engagement by playing more with interactive pictures, videos, and general information onto Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
In addition, there has been much talk of the development of virtual reality and augmented reality features regarding the world of tennis in the years to come. Currently, these technologies are untapped markets, but with time it would enable fans to track matches and statistics ahead of the broadcasters. As a result, we're anticipating a significant increase in the popularity of Fantasy Tennis Leagues. Since these semi-simulated games follow much more than just Wimbledon, it allows fans to engage with tennis year-round. Therefore, it is likely that audiences will become more knowledgeable about each of the players and, overall, more connected to the Wimbledon experience – resulting in a new ad space platform when The Championships roll round each year.
In essence, campaigns that mix strategy, research, and brave content are ones that make us tick. If you want to take your brand to the centre court too, reach out at email@example.com.