The United States Tennis Association is saying “Find Yourself in the Game” in a new national outreach campaign via DDB New York, launching ahead of the U.S. Open in Flushing, Queens next week. The awareness-building effort carries the unifying theme that tennis is for everyone, and creative uses simply drawn animation that illustrates voiceovers by real players and pros who talk about what they do in tennis and how the sport has changed their lives.
The campaign comprises three :30 T.V. spots that culminate with the players and participants appearing to finish their respective stories, capping it with “There’s a place in tennis for everyone. It’s a game that stays with you for life.” The spots, one of which features the USTA’s president and CEO, Katrina Adams, conclude with a call to action to “Share your story #mytennismygame.”
Ginny Levine, USTA director of marketing for community tennis, tells Marketing Daily that social-media components of the new campaign include a paid effort on Facebook and video representation on YouTube. “We have a really organic effort to complement the campaign at a microsite, where people can tell their stories about how they found themselves in the game; we want to share those stories across social.”
Levine adds that the TV advertising kicks off during Arthur Ashe Kids Day, and will run during broadcast coverage of the U.S. Open, on key channels like ESPN, as well as on screens at the Flushing Tennis Center. “We'll heavy up during the Open, capitalizing on the attention we get there.” She says the spots will continue in the fall against broader sports coverage. “From a timing standpoint it’s great for us leading into the fall signup period for sports.”
While the USTA advertises tennis across the media spectrum — including channels like Nickelodeon — this year is special because it is the first major campaign supporting the new USTA “Find Yourself in the Game” mantra. “We are using that new tone, and our new logo for the first time. So, we are really bringing it to life with this campaign,” says Levine.
The importance of the campaign is to promote more broadly what the Association does every day on a local level across the U.S. in terms of promoting and developing the sport, per Levine. “And there is not a better way for us to articulate the brand, and what we do for tennis than by telling other peoples’ stories.”
The USTA's efforts to expand the appeal of the sport have been going on for several years. Levine points out that efforts have included new categories of official court specifications, rackets and balls to make the sport more accessible to younger people, and to people who want a less daunting learning curve. “Five years ago, we developed lighter rackets and balls to make it easier for people to learn the sport, and progress through it. So even starting from then, and where we are moving now, the purpose is to drive interest.”