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CREATIVE STRATEGY: Sponsors' double fault at Wimbledon

I live in Wimbledon. But I don't go to Wimbledon. However, there's no avoiding that racquet and ball stuff during the last fortnight in June.

Evian: double-faulted with its Wimbledon sponsorship poster

Evian: double-faulted with its Wimbledon sponsorship poster

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And that begs the question – how do sponsors engage the general audience in the streets of SW19?

As a consumer, I’m in the market for bottled water. And as a consultant, I’m in the market for reliable couriers. Over to you, Evian and FedEx.

Evian first. Their big idea is 'Live young'  – brought to life in the "Roller Babies" ad. It’s hard to resist the cuteness factor of tiny tots roller-skating their wee socks off.

And a brand of "naturally pure and mineral-balanced" water has got to be the best sponsorship fit with the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. But creatively, how do you combine the main campaign with a tactical one? And indeed, should you? 

Evian arrived at a solution of sorts. The main visual is a shot of female tennis star Maria Sharapova. But instead of tennis whites, she’s wearing a tee shirt that features the image of a baby’s body, cropped so that its head is in fact Sharapova’s. There! Another great mash-up. 

Of course the poster makes two assumptions. You recognise the tennis player. And you get the reference to Evian’s previous campaigns. For the tennis-refusenik who doesn’t have an archivist’s memory for bottled water ads, the ad failed twice over.

Could FedEx do any better?  

With posters plastered all over Wimbledon Station platforms and local buses, they certainly had presence.

The headline is from the school of comparing business with athletic effort (we’ll probably see a hundred of these in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics): "While some dream of success, others are already up working to deliver it." 

It’s as about as clumsy as yours truly attempting to play tennis.

In the foreground is a player on an urban, floodlit court, with a FedEx van in the background, whizzing past the chain-link fence. It’s one of those shots that art directors call "moody" and the rest of us describe as "dark".  

"Live to deliver" is the FedEx line. ("Live" straplines must be in fashion.)  Well, they didn’t. "Love all" Evian and FedEx. As Andy Murray’s coach might say: there’s always next year.

Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones.

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