Game, set & brand

What a glorious weekend of tennis: the Wimbledon Finals and Great Britain’s first winner of the Men’s Singles for 77 years. I was lucky enough to have centre court tickets.

Celebrations for Andy Murray’s success aside, being a bit of a brand geek, I’m going to talk about some of the Wimbledon sponsorship branding that's all around London at present. Who is communicating their relationship to the event most successfully? Some of the partners have achieved a true feeling of Wimbledon more effectively than others.

The strength of the Wimbledon identity itself is highly notable. The iconic green and purple stripes are very recognisable and easy to apply with a little consideration. On site the green and purple stripes are applied tightly throughout, even down to the flowers. It was also very noticeable how tightly controlled and unobtrusive the marketing presence is. Much of the exposure for the brands I’m talking about in this post happens around London during the Wimbledon season.

The Wimbledon Brand on site

Perhaps the most successful approach is the Lavazza campaign bringing  ‘the new tradition’ with its product stylishly used by umpires and ball boys in a series of photographs which bring the two brands together in a crisp balance. (Less successful is the special edition coffee machine – you’d have to be a real fanatic to want that in your kitchen despite the consistent application of the Wimbledon identity). At the event the coffee cups are very visible, although I'm not sure how consistently the Wimbledon badge is stencilled on top of the cappuccinos.

Notable also is the Lanson sponsorship with its Tennis polo shirt bottle coolers. However, on site at Wimbledon there was little or no evidence of these – just regular Lanson bottles with a more conventional Wimbledon sticker on pack and an understated bar presence.

The Jacob’s Creek approach, whilst reflecting the Jacob’s Creek idea of product enjoyment with friends, feels a little less Wimbledon. Their Wimbledon packs are sharp but lack the wow or desirability factor of the Lanson cooler jackets. However, as far as I noticed, Jacob’s Creek did seem to be one of the only brands allowed to display posters on the Wimbledon site, and had their posters on show in one of the large refreshment areas.

IBM’s ‘Slam Tracker’ – the provision of smart live analytics throughout a match is a great example of an intelligent and appropriate partnership. The slam tracker featuring match statistics and live social sentiment adds an extra layer to audience enjoyment. Court-side the collaboration is tastefully visible in the form of the speed of serve counter and score board.

IBM's Slam Tracker

Courtside IBM and Rolex

It goes without saying Rolex with their highly visible time keeping have the relationship just right. There are many other partners and sponsors I haven’t touched on here like the ball boy uniforms from Ralph Lauren or Evian with their flags appearing throughout Wimbledon village. Then there are the players and their sponsors, which is a whole other piece which I won’t attempt to tackle here.

What I’ve observed is the most successful examples are thoroughly thought through, meticulously applied and are natural partnerships where brands are answering a need for one another.