Wilson Racquet Sports, a unit of Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods, has kicked off a new campaign featuring pro tennis player Roger Federer, who boasts the brand's BLX tennis racquets.
The first of four 45-second spots breaks on TV on June 21. Wilson, however, is previewing the spot online this week on YouTube and on Federer's Facebook fan page, which has more than 3.5 million fans. Doner created the campaign.
The new spot opens with two men playing tennis, and one of them seems to be frustrated with his performance. The game is interrupted as Federer is shown pushing a yellow couch onto the court. Federer proceeds to talk to the player (named Michael) like a shrink, asking him how playing with the current equipment makes him feel. Federer then picks up a Wilson BLX racquet and gives it to Michael, who instantly starts playing better. Michael exclaims that playing with the racquet "feels incredible." The spot ends with the tagline: "Feel more. More feel."
Federer is presented as a sports psychologist in the ad, in order to persuade other tennis players to take a moment and reconsider their racquet choices, Wilson said.
The tennis pro has had a long-standing relationship with the sporting goods company. Federer signed a lifetime endorsement agreement with Wilson Racquet Sports in 2006, and has since been featured in ads for the brand.
Ben Sturner, founder and CEO of The Leverage Agency, said Wilson's relationship with Federer has been its most successful marketing endorsement since Pete Sampras and the Wilson Pro Staff. "Federer adds so much credibility globally to the Wilson brand," said Sturner. "When tennis players purchase a racquet it has a lot to do with trust in the brand, and they feel that if the racquet is good enough for Roger Federer to play and win with, it must be good for them."
Sturner added that the endorsement deal helps Wilson also stand out in stores in a very competitive market. Wilson closely competes with brands like Babolat, which has Rafael Nadal as an endorser; and Prince, which has signed Maria Sharapova, he said.
In addition to TV, the multimedia campaign includes print, billboards, social media, promotions and special events.