My Favourite Tennis Ads

Tennis has seen some amazing ads in its history, most of which involve tennis professional players themselves. Below are my top 3 favourite tennis ads of all time.

3. SPEED WingTennis ft. Novak Djokovic

The ad showcases Head’s new YouTek IG SPEED MP racquet with Djokovic playing tennis on the wings of a plane at 1000ft in the air with his partner. This crazy feat was done to showcase the speed and precision of Head’s new racket, in that it is so fast and precise that players are able to rally whilst on top of a flying airplane. I love this ad for the way its made into a short, dramatic film through the use of slow motion effects, and a storyline to follow, which isn’t told through spoken words but expressions and actions of the characters shown. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens in the end (that they are able to rally on the plane then land safely), even knowing it was an advertisement for Head.

Youtube views: 1, 134, 459

2. Nike Football Commercial – Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Rafael Nadal

The Nike ad showcases a battle between Ronaldo and Nadal; Nadal playing tennis with his racquet whilst Ronaldo returns the tennis ball over the net using soccer skills such as kicks, head butts etc. Although this isn’t an advertisement specifically on the sport of tennis or tennis products, it still promotes the sport through demonstrating Rafa Nadal and his skills on the court as well as the amount of fun he’s having playing tennis. Nadal’s presence doesn’t all go to waste though, being covered in head-to-toe white Nike gear, promoting the brand’s clothing as well as it’s new soccer boots which is what the add is focused on. Let’s not forget that eye candy too…

Youtube views: 505, 771

1. Roger Federer Nike Ad

My all time favourite ad displays one of (if not the) tennis’ legends of all time, Roger Federer defending himself from a supposed stalker of sorts (played by one of comedy’s legends Rhys Darby) by hitting a tennis rally inside his house using his weapon of choice, Wilson tennis racquet. This is my favourite tennis ad for many reasons including the use of drama, humour, a luxurious home as the setting, and great characters – both Rhys Garby and Roger Federer himself. It shows Federer to be invincible, talented, whilst still humourous and laid-back with the help of Nike attire (and Wilson racquets), convincing consumers to also purchase Nike products through celebrity endorsement.

Youtube views: 2, 616, 909

Digital marketing implications

Use of Youtube

Although these ads for Nike and Head would have been displayed on TV, websites, etc. the use of Youtube drives the awareness of the brand and players involved as well as revenue due to the high use of Youtube throughout the world and the numerous amounts of viewers who make videos viral. These are only a couple examples of videos found on Youtube which have gone viral due to the media platform. Therefore, companies need to be aware and ensure their ads not only reach traditional advertising platforms, but also social media platforms, and online such as Youtube in order to extend reach to as many people internationally as possible.

Professional player endorsements

The use of professional tennis players such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic in advertisements strengthens the ad for the brand and its products as it portrays the message to consumers that professional athletes approve of these products and use them to contribute to their athleticism and performance. Consumers will then feel more convinced to purchase these products in comparison to advertisements which may still be clever but not feature world-ranking players of the sport.

What are your favourite tennis ads? Do professional athletes convince you to purchase products if they endorse them?

Smartphone…Smart Tennis Racquet?

After watching this clip, are you as intrigued as I am? It’s amazing to see the increasing use of technology into everyday objects (including tennis racquets!) every single day. Already, it has been predicted that by 2025, most tennis players will be using these smart racquets in place of regular racquets.

For those who are unaware, the concept of linking machinery, other physical assets, and equipment (including sports equipment) with networked sensors and actuators to capture data and manage performance relates to the Internet of Things. The smart racquet, created by French-based company Babolat, which is an example of the Internet of Things records data on each shot you hit, and sends this information to your smartphone via Bluetooth.  The technology, which was developed over 10 years by more than 50 technicians, scientists and researchers, features built-in hardware and sensors in the racquet handle which measures the amount of racquet head speed used, whether the shot uses slice, topspin, or flat strokes, as well as where on the string bed the player has made contact with the ball.

Extracted from http://blogs-images.forbes.com/amadoudiallo/files/2014/09/babolatracket.jpg

The data is then transferred to the ‘Babolat Play’ app (on your smartphone or tablet) via Bluetooth where players and coaches can access and utilise the data to improve performance on the tennis court.  The app also takes on a social approach, where data and stats can be seen and viewed by other users in the Babolat Play community. The racquet, which is currently $449 at Tennis Warehouse Australia, houses 6 hours of battery life along with a memory capacity which holds 150 hours of tennis.

So now that we understand the gist of this technological breakthrough in tennis, what are the marketing implications? Who benefits, the player, the coach, Babolat? Let’s start with the player. Seeing the price may put off tennis players since its pretty much double the amount of a regular racquet, although the technology installed has the ability to change, improve, and evolve the game of a player, whether they’re a young up-and-comer or a professional competing in the ATP like Rafael Nadal himself.

Extracted from http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02910/rafa-esc_2910365a.jpg

If you’re wondering, no it won’t put tennis coaches out of business. As a matter of fact, it will make lessons with players more efficient and effective, aiding the coach in giving instruction to improve how a player hits each shot. Although the data collected from the racquet may significantly improve a player’s performance on its own, a coach’s instruction is still important in how to use this information and where to make changes in a given style of play. It also demonstrates (if the player needs proof) that the coach knows what he’s talking about.

Now let’s talk about Babolat and how they benefit from this amazing product.  The French-based company actually has access to all the data collected from each user’s saved hitting sessions. Why does that not surprise me? It means that Babolat has the information contained in each person’s profile including how often they play tennis, whether it’s a practice session or actual match, what sort of strokes they hit, how fast they hit their shots, and where they hit it on the string bed of the racquet. Sure, to some people, if not most people, this won’t be a big issue which is fine, although some may think it dives a bit too deep into the issue of privacy.

An example of data collected from using the smart racquet. Extracted from http://blogs-images.forbes.com/amadoudiallo/files/2014/09/babolatapp.png

What’s really interesting though is that if players purchase Babolat’s smart racquet, it’s almost certain they’ll grow attached to the product since it stores all the data of how you play. Therefore, the consumer will most likely not feel comfortable to use another smart racquet or another regular racquet for that matter since all their data is collected from the Babolat smart racquet. David Benady confirms this, in that creating direct digital relationships between consumers, and the product (plus the brand), makes it harder for consumers to switch to other products. He then goes on to explain that products like the smart racquet allow Babolat to build profiles of user behaviour which was previously unobtainable data, including their style of play, how often tennis is played, and insights into where the customer is at in their tennis journey (whether they are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player).

I’d love to hear what you have to say about the smart racquet! Would you use it? Or are you concerned about Babolat’s access to your data? If you ask me, I think it sounds like an amazing product which would greatly improve my game, although it would be nice if users were given the option to make data private rather than accessible for others to see (including Babolat). Having said that, I would absolutely love to give it a try!