A two-week period of non-stop tennis is on the horizon for Wimbledon as the prestigious All England Club, Tennis' oldest Grand Slam tournament, kicked off officially today in Wimbledon, London.
Significantly, stores around town were overflowing with Tennis balls, creating the quirkiest themed-window displays I have seen in a while. Being myself a resident of Wimbledon, it was really interesting to see the area's dramatic transformation's overnight. All of a sudden, our neighbourhood was bustling with new faces and Tennis fans who were trying to find their way to the courts. Local retail shops and restaurants, did not miss the opportunity to harness the value of this event. Their stores and facilities were all branded accordingly to attract and keep up with the Tennis tournament--especially that after having the English team officially knocked out of FIFA 2014, English sport-enthusiasts did not waste time to shift their attention and patriotic devotion to celebrate and be part of Wimbledon 2014. Interestingly, Wimbledon village - a small neighbourhood within Wimbledon - has even launched a competition amongst stores and restaurants for the Best Tennis Championship themed window display.
Here is my review of the top Wimbledon Championship branding initiatives in ascending order:
Tennis Balls Branding - (Low Effort)
Perhaps the easiest way and most obvious way is to get into the tournament spirit is by adding tennis balls onto your existing window design. It seems the rule here is something along the lines of " the more, the merrier". Even few real-estate agencies, did not mind adding few rackets to their existing Apartment Listings.
BIG(ger) Tennis Balls Intiatives
Some retail stores decided that using bigger size Tennis balls is sufficient to draw some more attention to their stores, and so they either placed big tennis balls as decorative items, or baked a huge cake in the shape of a tennis ball, or simply used big tennis balls as BRIDES' HEADS on their mannequins.
The Good Old Tennis Ball -O- in your Logo
If there is an "O" in your logo, consider yourself lucky... You know have no choice but to put it up there, right? There must no other creative way to express your brand's support for the tournament. It seems that Wimbledon has had some O-envy as Morrisons's supermaket took Tesco's initiative a step further and changed its name to "Murrisons" in support of the English player Andy Murray. It is still unclear who started it first, but just keep those extremely creative juices coming guys... this is highly entertaining!
Tennis Lawn Rugs
Nothing beats dining on fake green lawn surrounded by tennis nets to say that you are in Wimbledon! Well, I must admit, at least they were trying to stand out from the crowd.
Quirky Window Displays
Here comes the good stuff! Some shops made big efforts to create a quirky tennis-themed window displays, and did an excellent job. Perhaps one of the best themed window display in my opinion was L.K.Bennet's which combined luxury and uniqueness and stayed true to its brand essence.
P.S. Is it me or are those birds-flying-tennis-balls look like a brighter version of Harry Potter's quidditch ball?
Wimbledon Station has a strategic importance in South West London as it intersects three modes of transportation: Tube, Trains, and Tramlink. The launch of the Tennis Championships has significantly increased footfall to Wimbledon, since it was the point of buses departure towards the Tennis arenas for all match attendees. Our famous "Reindeer" landmark woke up today to find itself surrounded with massive branding material: from slogans and trophies, to photos of Tennis champions. Speaking from a designer's point of view, the scene at the station perfectly reflected the heritage and importance of this event.
Tennis for ALL
The initiative that topped all other initiatives was that of the local council's, which created a setup in the heart of Wimbledon that provided live broadcast of the Tennis Championships - for FREE - for all to watch on a huge screen surrounded by comfortable tennis-themes seatings. Aside from any commercial purposes, this setup, which is part of the "Love Wimbledon" activities, promotes inclusiveness and allows the local residents to feel they are part of the Wimbledon 2014.
I truly appreciate such initiatives that involve the community and believe that it should become the norm for all sports events, especially that the average person cannot afford attending events in stadiums or even have access to watch them on exclusive TV channels at home. People no longer have to stand in huge crowds next to restaurants, pubs and coffee shops painfully trying to peek at the big screens to watch the FIFA World Cup and keep up with the scores. If sport really "Unites" people around a specific set of values, then inclusiveness should be on the very top of the list.