Skip to main content
Game, set, match: the top five Wimbledon sponsorship campaigns

Game, set, match: the top five Wimbledon sponsorship campaigns

As the 2022 Wimbledon Championship approaches, physical branding professionals, Solopress, have analysed the top five most unique and creative sponsorship campaigns of the tournament’s history.

Wimbledon is widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious tennis event and provides a unique platform for sponsors to showcase its marketing assets in front of Wimbeldon's ABC1 audience and wider digital audience.

Typically, the grounds host 42,000 fans. In terms of TV viewership, figures are increasing year on year, with the 2021 tournament hosted by BBC attracting a cumulative average audience of 15.5m across 43.5 hours of coverage.

Courtside attendees and TV viewers alike are exposed to promotional materials from the tournament’s premium long-term partners. In sponsorship terms alone, the British sporting event creates an estimated £45m.

Number one: Haagen Dazs - Lose Yourself 2016

To mark its five-year relationship with Wimbledon as the tournament's official ice cream, Haagen Dazs delivered an outside-the-box campaign during the 2016 championship.

The brand released a Strawberries and Cream stick bar, paying homage to one of Wimbledon’s pairings in addition to delivering a multi-channel marketing campaign.

Instead of focusing the camera on the court, advertising agency, Grey London, chose to showcase real-time portraits of the SW19 crowd during the tournament’s most intense and emotional moments.

The fan-focused strategy sought to emphasise the intensity of both the tournament and the ice cream's flavours and utilised social media with the hashtag #LoseYourself, encouraging fans to share their images.

The campaign received 28,000 customer engagements, 15,000 photobooth participants and 2000 sales.

Number two: Robinson’s – Play Thirsty 2014

Robinson’s has been the official soft drink supplier of Wimbledon since 1935. In 2014, Robinson’s celebrated 80 years at Wimbledon with its campaign #PlayThirsty.

Within the campaign, the brand aimed to inspire families by providing fun, free ways to enjoy tennis. Offering families the chance to win a VIP package to attend Wimbledon via an on-pack promotion, the brand also leveraged social media, video advertising and video tutorials to ensure success for its Play Thirsty campaign.

Initially released as a national press campaign with the tagline ‘quenching the thirst of Wimbledon since 1935’, the campaign is an example of how to successfully play on nostalgia and the rich heritage of an event.

Number three: Evian – Ball Hunt 2012

As part of its 2012 Wimbledon sponsorship, the official water sponsor of the tournament, Evian, attempted to motivate audiences with a welcome element of gamification.

Fans were offered the chance to win Wimbledon 2012 tickets in a competition that involved hunting for a pink tennis ball across London. Fans were encouraged to dig for clues on the brand’s official Twitter and Facebook pages, where the Evian ‘ball boy’ would interact with them offering them to check-in at the required London-based location to be in with a chance of winning.

The campaign was an example of how social media, gamification and giveaways can be successfully harnessed to provide a unique experience for fans and generate wide user engagement.

Encouraging users to interact with the outdoor campaign created a buzz about the tournament; the ball hunt attracted over 2,000 new followers on Twitter with over 250 using the hashtag #EvianBallHunt, whilst 365 mentions of the brand were included in posts.

Number four: Lavazza – The Queue 2016

Since 2011, Lavazza has been the official coffee of Wimbledon.

In 2016, Lavazza wanted to reduce the long wait times whilst encouraging fans to learn more about the brand with its campaign,#TheQueue, which focused on physical branding and social media.

Its concept included printing fan selfies on cups of coffee using an on-site coffee ripples printing machine. The campaign harnessed the power of personalisation and helped frustrated queuers to take a breath, refuel and appreciate the creativity behind the Lavazza brand.

The campaign demonstrates the benefits of addressing key customer pain points at the right time and proved to be highly successful on social media reaching over 1.75m people and accumulating 1,131 brand mentions across all social platforms over the two-week period.

Number five: HSBC Presents Wimbledon at Rockefeller Centre 2010

HSBC has been Wimbledon’s official banking partner for the past decade.

The brand provides an on-site bank facility that allows HSBC cardholders to access free strawberries and cream and ‘Court 20’ where customers can practice their tennis skills and meet some of the brand’s most famous ambassadors.

In 2010 the brand combined print and digital marketing with its “HSBC presents Wimbledon 2010 at Rockefeller Center” print ads. The print ads were strategically linked with an exclusive QR code that allowed readers to access a programme of complimentary activities from live screenings at the HSBC outdoor viewing area to the opportunity to play a game of tennis on Manhattan’s only grass court.

Providing a ‘behind-the-scenes’ feel and bringing the sporting event to life authentically, HSBC were able to encourage readers to download the HSBC app and strengthen their relationship with the brand.

Brand creativity

It is clear that Wimbledon offers brands the opportunity to showcase their creative marketing in a variety of ways, with scope to create something entirely unique such as a personalised coffee or branded competition that encourages widespread brand engagement.

With the 2022 tournament just on the horizon and brands still looking to capture their target audience in new and unexpected ways, we can expect some exciting campaigns to emerge throughout June and July.