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?

You Are Being Watched

Have you ever wondered why Facebook is showing you the latest Adidas sports shoes when you were just recently on their website? Or why a random website you’re looking at is also showing an ad at the top of the page of an Adidas promotion which ends on Friday? This my friend, is what they call targeted advertising; a way of placing ads based on the demographics of consumers, their previous buying history, or behaviour (Hearst Newspapers, 2015). Let me explain the types of targeted advertising.

Firstly we have social networking ads which utilise social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as a way of advertising based on who’s liking what, and your friends’ activities online. Take for example Facebook. Recently, I’ve been searching for flights to LA for my trip to the US, which brings me to how surprised (but then not surprised) I was to find this on my news feed:

facebook adWhen I went on to click ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ I saw the image below which explains I was seeing an ad of webjet.com because they wanted “…to reach people of Facebook through Criteo an advertising company that uses Facebook’s ad exchange.” Criteo is an international business which has digital performance advertising as its core focus. So this demonstrates companies’ use of external marketing businesses to tailor their advertising to targeted consumers who use Facebook.

facebook infoThe second type of advertising is search engine ads which display advertisements at the top and right hand side of search engines (e.g. Google) based on your searches for example:

search engine adsAs we can see, based on my search of one of Babolat’s racquets, Google has displayed 3 ads at the top of the page as well as on the right hand side (which we can recognise as ads with the small yellow square displaying the word ‘Ad’) as well as pictures of racquets and their prices on the right also which is a sponsored ad.

Lastly, we have behavioural ads which show up on websites you view based on your purchasing and browsing habits. As shown below, we can see that once I searched and looked at a particular Babolat tennis racquet, an advertisement for that particular product is shown when I’m reading articles on Forbes.com and when I’m ‘attempting’ to read an article for an assignment.

behavioural 1

behavioural 2In summary, targeted advertising has become a regular part of online advertising. Companies are now utilising demographics and data based on consumer habits in order to be able to target their advertisements on particular consumers who would be interested. Although, this doesn’t go without criticisms. A recent global study conducted by Adobe on 1250 Australian consumers found that 84% of Australians believe companies collect too much personal information about them, 87% believe there are too many technologies tracking and analysing the behaviour of consumers, and 73% believe “it’s creepy when companies target advertisements to consumers based on their behaviour”. In turn, 82% feel they have lost their privacy which brings me to my final questions to you – do you feel you’ve lost your sense of privacy because of targeted advertising used today? Have you ever been targeted yourself? I’d love to hear from you.

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!

Give Us A Twirl Genie

Back in January when the Australian Open 2015 tournament was in full swing, certain stories and moments captured not just Australia but the world’s attention; one of them being an interview with Eugenie (Genie) Bouchard, currently the world no. 7 and 2014 Wimbledon runner-up. For those who aren’t aware, Canadian (gorgeous) tennis player had just won her second round match, when she was asked to give the audience a ‘twirl’ during her interview, to show off her brightly coloured Nike yellow and pink outfit. Sounds harmless right? Apparently not…

A moment like this became the talk of the entire world soon after, not because people wanted to know where to purchase Genie’s outfit from, but people claimed the question to be ‘sexist’ and hence sparked controversy. It started on Twitter, with people sending outraged tweets based on the interview, claiming that male tennis players wouldn’t be asked to do anything ridiculous like that so why should Genie?

The interview also sparked conversation on platforms such as Facebook as well as articles being published in our local Herald Sun and international publications including the UK’s Daily Mail and Hello! Magazine in Canada. Not only that, but fellow tennis players participating in the tournament were also being asked on their opinion on the incident in their post-match interviews. Players like Maria Sharapova blatantly admitted she didn’t care; “I really have no interest in that, honestly. I’m sure you guys have covered every part of it. You know, I stay away from that.”

So what happened in the end? Channel 7 decided to distance itself from the controversy, claiming the interviewer Ian Cohen actually worked as a broadcaster for Tennis Australia. Eugenie Bouchard herself didn’t kick up too much of a stink, laughing about the whole incident and posting a cartoon picture on Twitter, tweeting “It could have been worse”.

So there you have it, one of the memorable moments of the Australian Open 2015 which became the talk of the world. Social media and the internet have demonstrated, in this case, to be able to create areas of discussion and controversy around the world, from something seeming to be comedic and harmless, to a campaign of sexism against women and discrimination. What if social media and the internet didn’t exist? Would this even have been an issue or would it have been swept under the rug and not been noticed at all? Now that the internet plays such a prominent role in the majority of people’s lives, it allows the people to speak openly and freely about what they wish, being able to express their opinions on what’s important to them and what issues need to be raised, including this blog! Now that’s what I call, the beauty of the internet.

But how about you? Do you feel comfortable expressing your views and opinions on the internet? Would you get involved or consider yourself a bystander? Was asking Genie to ‘give us a twirl’ sexist? Let me know in the comments below!

How Tennis Legends Remain Legendary Through Social Media

Social media and sport. Two things which having been put together, have completely (and beautifully) evolved the sports industry and all involved. What is social media you ask? Social media refers to sites most of us use daily including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube. Sites like these allow us to connect, share, post, comment, and link to others from all over the world.

As a tennis enthusiast, it’s been amazing to see social media and its influence on the top players in the world. As funny as it sounds, tennis players are brands. And as brands, tennis players (along with all other sporting professionals) need to market themselves in order to develop a large support and fan base. Therefore, it is necessary in our society today, for sporting professionals to use various social media platforms.

To start off, let’s take a look at my all time personal fav, Roger Federer. He’s beautiful, I know. Just under 15million likes on Facebook, 464k followers on Instagram, 2.7million followers on Twitter, and the 2nd most popular tennis player on social media (number 1 in my eyes). What do all these big numbers say about Roger? They tell us he engages with fans. He includes them in his life, and makes them feel important to him. Although it’s difficult for him to personally engage with all of us fans, he takes the time to post photos, statuses, and tweets of where he is, what trophy he’s just won, what he’s eating, who he’s making friends with, and what sort of cake he got for his birthday.

Becoming an instant Twitter sensation back in 2013, the Feds also conducts Q&A sessions on social media such as Twitter and Reddit where fans are able to ask the man any questions they like, and when I mean any question, I mean any question.

So pretty much, sporting professionals need to have a social media presence if they want to be noticed in the world and supported by a large number of fans because let’s face it, if Roger Federer didn’t have the thousands and millions of followers on his social platforms, fans wouldn’t pay top money to watch him play tennis, sponsors like Nike and Wilson wouldn’t do anything for him to wear and use their gear, and the 4 grand slams throughout the year wouldn’t make sure that all his towels were folded to perfection during tournaments. All this happens because of his fans and support from his engagement with the world through social media. He’s not just a great athlete but a role model, a great influence to all those that look up to him. This is where social media is important. It’s needed by sporting athletes to be able to maintain their stature and reputation in a digital world where 72% of internet users are active on social media.

I want to hear what you have to say. Do you think it’s important for all sporting athletes to be on social media? Which sporting athletes do you follow on social media? Why? Leave a comment below, otherwise click here if you’re after some Twitter advice from the tennis pros themselves.