SBD/June 24, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Federer Stars In New Ads For Wilson Tennis, Nike As His Brand Continues To Grow

New racket-highlight spots from Wilson Tennis depict Roger Federer and Serena Williams "going undercover to aid seemingly hapless hackers on court," according to Jonathan Scott of Williams "dons a straw sun-hat and nerdy spectacles while Fed puts on a curvaceous faux-moustache that makes him look like Super Mario" (, 6/20). Federer in his spot says, "Howdy partner! ... You know, the Wilson Steam has Spin-Effect technology to get your balls spinning more than the wheels of my pick-em-up truck." wrote it is a "thoroughly amusing and dorky spot for Federer, but it suits him perfectly" (, 6/19). Meanwhile, the GUARDIAN's Jason Stone noted Federer in a new Nike ad is "unhappy when he gets home from work to discover an unwelcome visitor in his pristine house -- a housefly." His efforts to "squash the wee beastie come to naught until he utilises the extraordinary flexible soul of his Nike trainer" (, 6/21).

STAYING POWER: The ECONOMIC TIMES' Shakya Mitra writes it is Federer's "off-court persona as well [as] his elegant disposition and stylish play that endear him to audiences the world over." This has made him "as much of a star as he is a champion, which is rare." Much of Federer's "enormous stature as a marketing brand comes from his image as an athlete who has remained scandal-free." His marriage to Mirka Vavrinec has been "a largely untroubled one." This, along with the "aura, elegance and his serve-and-volley game, has helped Federer become a global brand that's a marketer's dream." Federer's earnings both on and off court last year were $71.5M (all figures U.S.), "second only to Tiger Woods among sportpersons." As much as 90% of the earnings -- $65M -- "have come from endorsements." His 10-year, $100M deal with Nike is "the biggest single deal in the history of tennis." Apart from other deals with the likes of Credit Suisse, his "endorsements with Rolex and Gillette have made him a prominent feature on Indian television." The Federer brand is "stronger than ever before." While he "may not be the dominant powerhouse he once was, whatever he is getting through his endorsements is a reflection of his achievements" (ECONOMIC TIMES, 6/24).

MARKING THE START: MARKETING magazine's Alex Brownsell notes a "host of brands including Gillette, Evian, Nescafe, Rolex and Lidl have rolled out print ad campaigns" to mark the start of Wimbledon. Rolex, an official Wimbledon partner, has "launched a full-page print ad with a large image of the All-England tennis courts, accompanied by the text, 'Rolex and Wimbledon. United by the pinnacle of excellence.'" Wine brand Jacob's Creek uses its ad campaign "to promote a Wimbledon ticket competition." Procter & Gamble-owned Gillette promotes its association with Federer, while Unilever's Elmlea brand "uses a tennis pun -- 'Singles or doubles?' -- alongside its products pictured in front of a tennis net." Evian's Wimbledon print activity features Maria Sharapova in an ad "placed alongside another featuring an Evian 'baby'" (, 6/24).
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