Sports marketing match points: 10 years of top Wimbledon ads
The oldest (and most prestigious) tennis tournament in the world has started. A welcome distraction from the Lionesses exiting the Women’s World Cup, we thought it would be appropriate to focus on sports marketing today.
And specifically the finest Wimbledon-related adverts in recent memory. From UK hip hoppers with Grand Slam champions, dreams of domestic triumphs, here’s what we came up with… And if you love lists like this check out the best Netflix marketing examples, too.
Robinson’s — Imagine — 2009
This emotive advert makes no secret of the fact Robinson’s cordials have been Wimbledon fixtures since 1935. Nevertheless, one of the company’s most iconic efforts came 74 years into that partnership with this clip focussed on how— for two weeks of the year at least— Britain unites in the hope of a homegrown winner.
Sony — Tennis Balls — 2011
Most people who were alive and over the age of about six will remember that Sony Bravia ad. The electronics giant used animated trickery to bounce thousands of multi-coloured balls through city streets to sell its unparalleled picture quality. Well, if it ain’t broke and all that— the company re-purposed said triumph for Wimbledon with similarly eye-catching results.
Stella Artois — Rufus The Real Hawk-Eye — 2014
Wimbledon is synonymous with strawberries, cream, Pimm’s and champagne, not standard 5% lager. That didn’t stop Stella, though. Made authentic thanks to the focus on the hawk used to scare off pigeons when they land on court, it’s also a clever nod to the high-tech camera system used by umpires to clarify difficult-to-judge points, AKA Hawk-Eye.
Jaguar — Andy Murray vs A Car — 2016
This Jaguar commercial was a stroke of genius by the manufacturer. Britain’s great home hope, Andy Murray, was pitted for speed of serve against the company’s latest car model. Thus showing off the vehicle spec in a way that still makes you feel this is still a Wimbledon ad. Better yet it features one of the tournament’s greatest characters, controversial complainer John McEnroe.
Evian — Rizzle Kicks feat. Maria Sharapova — 2016
Aimed squarely at the youth audience, urban-pop duo Rizzle Kicks meet young tennis icon Sharapova on a tune that smacks of the Wimbledon season. Always destined to play out well for Evian, the music video was a huge online success back in 2016 and is a great example of big business leveraging the power of music, only this time for a sports marketing campaign.
IBM — Tennis In An English Garden — 2018
Wimbledon has been happening for well over a century, but these days it’s a high-tech affair (see Hawk-Eye above). IBM has been behind the scoreboards and computer assisted aspects of the tournament for decades, and last year decided to roll out this slice of sports marketing focussed on all the stuff viewers and ticket holders don’t see, but couldn’t do without.
Wimbledon — The Story Continues — 2019
This year’s Championships come with one of the best pieces of animated advertising we’ve seen in ages. Attempting to chronicle 142 years of tennis excellence, it appeals to the huge nostalgia that fans have for tournaments gone by, while also confirming that this is the sport of today (and, at the time of writing, the next 11 days). So that’s game, set and match.
We don’t do advertising, but we do know a host of other comms disciplines— including sports marketing. Interested?
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