SMACKING BALLS WITH THE HOUGHTON BOSTON TENNIS CLASSIC
The Houghton Boston Tennis Classic has been a staple in the Canadian portion of the professional men’s division for seven years, featuring rising stars preparing to break into the four major Grand Slams. But despite the high level of tennis and $25,000 grand prize for the winner, the tournament has been unable to garner the attendance that it deserves. With a tournament full of rising stars, how could we bring the worldwide excitement of tennis to the land of football, snow and hockey?
We realized that we couldn’t immediately increase Saskatoon’s interest in tennis. But with the huge popularity of complex sports such as hockey, Canadian football and lacrosse, we discovered that people often attend events out of curiosity and the promise of an exciting atmosphere. We needed to create an experience.
Through a simple melding of the prestigious “Wimbledon” and the host city’s name, Wimbletoon was born. The look and feel of Wimbletoon was designed to give a new spin on the traditions and styles of tennis.
We leveraged exciting outdoor applications, including fuzzy, green posters with clever tennis-related lines, vehicle decals designed to look like a real tennis ball had smashed the window, tennis-ball truck nuts and guerrilla marketing with giant chalk stencils. Tournament messaging was spread across the city, with special focus on key demographic areas. We also chose specific landmarks and statues around Saskatoon to adorn with tennis headbands complete with an invitation to attend the tournament, as well as concocting a signature drink for the event – the Courtside Smash – in a collectible tumbler.
By creating unique collateral and teaming up with popular downtown locations, we were able to get free advertising through social media from shares by both individuals and businesses. When we increased the tournament’s social media presence on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, we were quickly able to spread the word through leveraging business-to-business relationships and mutual sharing.
Wimbletoon set attendance records for the Houghton Boston Tennis Classic, making it the best-attended event in tournament history by a large margin. It attracted citywide attention from a youthful audience through social media and guerrilla marketing. This young audience was excited to support and experience an event that they have never been a part of before.
In a city full of summertime activities, Wimbletoon became the event of choice for the sun-seeking crowds of Saskatoon. Through the buzz that was built around the tournament, Wimbletoon earned free publicity through a variety of mediums including news, print, web, and social media and created a new generation of tennis fans.
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