Rich in history, style and tradition, most will associate The Wimbledon Championships with exclusivity, white playing kits, strawberries and cream, and linesmen donning outfits that look like they’ve been frozen in time.
It’s 116-year partnership with Slazenger is the longest in sporting history and unlike other Grand Slams you won’t see numerous sponsors’ boards surrounding the courts as the tournament has strict branding rules.
However, with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, alongside 50 years of Open tennis, Wimbledon acknowledges it must experiment with how it champions history and tradition in order to engage both its “older, core audience” and the rising number of younger viewers walking through its gates each year.
But when the tournament kicks off on 2 July, Wimbledon’s says its biggest challenge isn’t competing for attention with the FIFA World Cup or whether home-grown heavy hitter Andy Murray will return from injury, but avoiding becoming “complacent” in what it has labelled “the golden age of tennis”.
Wimbledon’s new animated campaign, titled #TakeOnHistory and part of the wider ‘In Pursuit of Greatness’ series, looks to both maintain Wimbledon’s “exclusive image” while appealing to the broader UK population that represents the tournament’s viewership.
The 60-second animated video takes the viewer on a historical journey through the decades by carefully reflecting each era. It starts in black and white before transitioning to colour, showing the evolution of Wimbledon from its beginnings in 1877 up to the present day.
Created with McCann London, the video also follows a continuous illustrated tennis rally that starts with Spencer Gore and ends with modern day greats Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Speaking to Marketing Week, head of marketing and commercial at the AELTC James Ralley says the campaign aims to illustrate Wimbledon’s brand essence.
“It’s really important we get that message across because it’s something that runs through the DNA of the club. The element that we think lands the message is the use of different animations which are reflective of different decades,” he explains.
“But what we didn’t want to do was to beat history in any way, because history is so important here. We want to celebrate it and we need to continue to innovate in a way that’s appropriate to Wimbledon.”
A series of films that will feature across social media focus in greater depth on three key areas of Wimbledon: the gardens, the ticket resale scheme and the famous queue. They will run throughout the duration of the tournament,
Ralley admits that the campaign is skewed at a younger demographic (between 18 and 35 years old) but the animation ensures the brand hasn’t alienated its older core audience.
“We felt the animation needed to have a broad focus so people of all generations can identify with it,” he says.
“I think there’s a perception that Wimbledon’s demographic is very exclusive. While that’s somewhat true and we want to have an exclusive image, its audience is very reflective of the UK population. And the audience that we see coming through the gate is getting younger and younger, so we need to experiment with how we present history and tradition in different ways.”