Tennis Canada leverages Canadian success for new campaign

Two campaigns target casual fans and kids

Tennis Canada has launched two campaigns focused on getting Canadians — particularly youngsters and tennis newbies — to pick up the game now that Canadian players such as Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic are becoming household names.

On Friday, Tennis Canada went live with a campaign called “Tennis is Canada” that’s focused on rousing the interesting of those 12-35-year olds that aren’t likely avid tennis fans, but have heard of Canada’s most famous current players.

“We have a very big target on the casual sports/tennis fan,” said Mark Healy, chief marketing officer of Tennis Canada. Tennis Canada wants to foster participation, whether it be someone going out to buy their first racquet or tuning into matches on TV.

The sport upholds certain values — such as grace, respect and discipline — that are also considered to be Canadian values, said Healy. The “Tennis is Canada” campaign, which launched with a TV spot and is also getting a social push, is intended to connect those dots. “It’s a bit of a play on our name and logo, and it’s a hashtag campaign,” added Healy.

Beyond the TV and social elements, there is also an onsite element at the Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal. Fans at the matches are being asked to share their experience at the event using the #TENNISisCANADA hashtag.

Plus, Tennis Canada has partnered with Twitter Canada to get players and celebrities at the matches using the hashtag as well. As players come off the court in Toronto, a Twitter Mirror — an iPad outfitted with proprietary technology — has been placed in the tunnel so that they can take a selfie, add a quick note and then tweet it out with Tennis Canada’s handle and hashtag for the new campaign. Healy said this attribution will bring massive exposure to the campaign.

In addition to providing this star factor, Healy said Twitter Canada is providing Tennis Canada with best practices and Chris Doyle, Twitter Canada’s head of sports partnerships, is helping Tennis Canada with amplifications throughout the campaign.

The “Tennis is Canada” campaign was developed by the association’s 11-person marketing team. The integrated campaign also includes TV, online video, social, on-site signage, and even tattoos for fans with the campaign’s hashtag.

The other current Tennis Canada campaign — this one developed by Tennis Canada’s AOR, Bensimon Byrne — is a PSA that shows playing the sport can instill confidence in kids.

“When you see a kid start to pick up the game — especially kids’ tennis because it’s a game that’s right-sized for them: smaller courts, bigger racquets — you see the confidence in them build very quickly,” said Joseph Bonnici, creative director at Bensimon Byrne.

The TV spot — which has both an English and French version — also shares the insight with parents that tennis is an ideal sport to get their kids playing — especially since it’s accessible to a wide group of people since it doesn’t take a large financial investment to play, he said.

Given Canada’s winning streak in the sport, Bonnici said there’s even more motivation for tennis to be one of Canada’s top sports. “We’ve already said hockey’s number one. There’s no reason tennis shouldn’t be number two.

“We’ve never been more prominent in tennis in this country in our sports history, so it’s really important that we capitalize on these great personalities that we have to get more kids playing the game,” said Bonnici.

Tennis Canada handled the media buy for the PSA. It will also play during tennis broadcasts throughout the year.

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