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Volume 21 No. 34
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USTA, tennis industry use stars in $3 million bid to encourage play

With participation in tennis flat at best, the U.S. Tennis Association and the Tennis Industry Association are launching a $3 million marketing effort encouraging Americans to play its game.

Easily the biggest participatory campaign from any tennis industry organization breaks with eight-page color inserts in the April, May and June issues of Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Shape, Fitness, Vibe, ESPN The Magazine, Runner's World, Travel & Leisure and Tennis Magazine. Other print buys include USA Today and various Hispanic media. The total is 10 million inserts.

While Arnold Worldwide's New York office continues as the USTA's ad agency for the U.S. Open, Vigilante, Omnicom's self-styled "urban agency," was used for the latest tennis push, with African-Americans and Hispanics being the primary targets. USTA research shows that these two demos make up nearly one of every three new tennis players.

One ad features Daisy Fuentes touting the calorie-burning effects of tennis.
The creative features testimonials from celebs like Daisy Fuentes and Mike Wallace, and stars from other sports, including NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and boxer Roy Jones Jr. on why they love tennis and the value of the game. The ads feature the tag line, "Tennis. Come Out Swinging."

The campaign hopes to push people to tenniswelcomecenter.com, a site offering information on instruction and where to play locally.

More than 3,300 tennis facilities at parks, commercial tennis clubs, health clubs, resorts, high schools and colleges have signed on to participate.

An accompanying TV spot without celebs will run on USTA asset media time within tennis tournament broadcasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and The Tennis Channel. The tennis equipment industry is also supporting the campaign.

"Come out Swinging" and "TennisWelcomeCenter.com" branding will appear on 2.5 million hang tags on beginner rackets from manufacturers including Prince, Head, Yonex and Wilson. In addition, stickers on 25 million cans of Wilson, Penn and Dunlop tennis balls will bear similar messaging, and a million inserts pushing the program will be placed into boxes of tennis shoes from Nike, Reebok, Adidas, K-Swiss, Fila, Wilson and Prince.

Tennis Welcome Centers and more than 1,000 sporting goods retailers will display banners supporting the campaign.