Wilson launched a new print and TV ad campaign last week involving Roger Federer and Wilson’s new [K Factor] racket. The TV ad will start rotation during the 2007 U.S. Open Series (starting in July).
from Sports Business Journal (registration req’d)
Wilson’s multimillion-dollar ad campaign a boost for tennis
By DANIEL KAPLAN; Staff writer
Published February 26, 2007
There are many reasons why tennis as a pro sport is a weak sibling to golf in the United States, but one has long been that golf club manufacturers spend money advertising on TV during tournaments while racket makers, in general, do not.
That pattern largely is a function of economics — golfers need to buy more clubs than tennis players do rackets — but the spending nonetheless has pumped more money into golf. Now, Wilson Sporting Goods is looking to change that equation somewhat with a mid-seven-figure campaign that begins next month.
In pure dollars, the effort pales against the $30 million ad effort announced earlier this month by Callaway Golf. Still, the Wilson initiative is important in a sport that has been trying to get equipment makers to advertise.
A new Wilson TV commercial will feature top-ranked player Roger Federer and will pitch the company’s new [K] Factor racket, which comes complete with a stamped signature from the Swiss icon.
Wilson, the nation’s No. 1 racket maker by both sales and volume, defended the big-bucks push in tennis by noting that the sport, unlike golf, is growing among recreational players.
“Tennis is the only sport out of 30 that is growing over five years,” said Jon Muir, Wilson’s general manager of racket sports, citing research from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
Wilson is so keen on the ad that the company planned to bring together 500 clients in Las Vegas on Tuesday to showcase it. Federer will speak in a taped message.
The company also will announce that Mardy Fish is switching from Dunlop to Wilson. That would make Fish the highest-ranked American male player to compete with the Wilson. Last week, Fish was ranked 25th worldwide.
Print ads will begin appearing in tennis industry publications in March, with the TV spot starting in July on Fox Sports Net, ESPN2 and The Tennis Channel during the summer U.S. Open Series swing. Orlando-based ad agency Convergence created the spot.
Wilson also is re-doing its Web site in part to emphasis the [K] Factor. The racket itself will have several iterations, with the top line only expected to be used by elite amateur players.
While Wilson is the No. 1 racket company, it does not have the No. 1 racket. That honor falls to Prince’s O3 racket, wielded by the likes of Maria Sharapova, according to data that Prince cited from the Sports Marketing Surveys/Tennis Industry Association Specialty Store Retail Audit.
Wilson Sporting Goods is a division of Finland-based Amer Sports. According to Amer’s recent annual financial statement, sales in Wilson’s racket sports division rose 4 percent in 2006 to $309.5 million.