Wimbledon launch campaign in an attempt to marry tradition with modernity

It’s June and the sun is shining, strawberries are in season, and we’ve just watched Rafael Nadal lift a trophy aloft on a clay court. Some things never change. And that can only mean one thing: Wimbledon is just around the corner.

Such tradition is a big deal for the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), of course. The all-white sportswear coupled with the pristine grass courts help to make Wimbledon what it is. In fact, given the setting, they do a great job keeping a modern image to the tournament despite such hefty nods to a fairly outdated idyll which doesn’t necessarily fit with the rest of modern sport. As sport becomes a global business fuelled largely by fan perception, there certainly is a need to project a modern face while respecting the fact that Wimbledon’s chief charm is in its tradition. It’s why millions of people who aren’t even fans of sport will follow the action from SW19 for two weeks a year.

But outside of England and – and the traditional tennis community – that can be a tough sell. And a new campaign launched by the event organisers on June 16th attempts to do just that.

The ‘In pursuit of greatness’ campaign, and the AELTC’s intention of promoting it across social media platforms, attempts to appeal to a younger and wider audience by evoking the modern image of the sport as well as the fact that it takes pretty much the entire year after the last tournament to prepare for the next one. However fast paced life may be, good things take time, and that’s certainly a message that links the outward-looking, modern tournament with the traditional, almost nostalgic feel it portrays to audiences worldwide.

“Our research shows that while Wimbledon’s English garden positioning works for people visiting the event and the UK audience, we need to explain the tournament’s unique personality in Asia. There is an element of humility in this campaign,” said James Ralley, the AELTC’s head of commercial and marketing.

But of course, there are plenty of people who will tune in to watch an ‘English garden’ type of event. And that’s the challenge: to marry a modern grand slam featuring the biggest names in tennis playing for one of the sport’s biggest prizes with an idyllic image of a traditional sport whose roots started off in a bygone era.

In the end, though, tradition itself shouldn’t be a hard sell. After all, it’s what makes Wimbledon special – and there aren’t too many special sporting events.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 195 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

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