Prince Racquets Play Roles in ‘Wimbledon’

LOS ANGELES When Universal Picture’s Wimbledon opens tomorrow, it will mark the first exclusive movie marketing tie-in for Prince Sports.

In a marketing plan spearheaded by Marina del Rey, Calif.-based independent Formula PR, Prince products are being promoted as the “Official racquets of Wimbledon, the movie.”

“This is the first time we’ve done this kind of promotion,” said Linda Glassel, vp of sports marketing and communications at the Bordentown, N.J., company.

Wimbledon will bring greater value to [the product] among mainstream consumers,” said Formula PR president Michael Olguine, explaining that Prince racquets, long popular with serious players, provide an element of “tennis heritage” to the film. “And the movie will draw attention to the fun and competitiveness of the sport,” he added.

Prince, via Formula, developed a relationship with Universal in early 2003, when the film’s producers requested a selection of product samples. Kirsten Dunst, who portrays a rebellious young tennis player in the movie, and her coaches “fell in love” with the racquets, Olguine recalled.

“The whole idea is to create excitement around tennis, take tennis to the next level,” Glassel said.

In addition to movie placement, an ad campaign created by Prince’s lead agency, Interpublic Group’s Hill Holiday in New York, will appear on the Internet and in publications such as Tennis, Net News and Inside Tennis. In-store promotions feature movie posters and Wimbledon stickers on all Prince products.

The campaign budget was not disclosed, but Olguine said there was “not necessarily a lot of money exchanged” and that the company will get “a lot of mileage out of it.” According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Prince spent about $800,000 in 2003, half of which of was dedicated to racquet promotions.