USTA Serves Up May Print Campaign; Ski, Snowboarding Group Gets Push – Brief Article

Hilary Cassidy

Having declared May as USA Tennis Month, the U.S. Tennis Association will support its grass roots initiative with a series of advertorials, classroom tie-ins and retail promotional partners. An 8-page advertorial with game tips and athlete profiles will run on May 1 in USA Today.

That piece will include ad support from U.S. Open sponsors Pepsi and Lincoln. A 4-page special section will also run in the May issue of Woman’s Day, an offshoot of Hachette sister publication Elle’s U.S. Open sponsorship, and a 2-page advertorial aimed at families will run in the May issue of Tennis.

The print effort will tag Tennis Month retail partners Target and The Sports Authority Both will run month-long promotions and offer discounts on tennis merchandise. Target’s 4,000 stores will participate nationwide, while 200 TSA outlets take part regionally.

United Airlines will feature a Tennis Month video on all domestic flights in May. The USTA also has tapped Scholastic to distribute a tennis-themed poster to more than 1 million kids in grades 4-6 through INstructor magazine, and to develop an in-class language arts program and essay contest. Winners go to New York’s National Tennis Center for the official kickoff of USA Tennis Month in early May.

“As the program keeps growing, it generates terrific promotion for us outside of the sports pages,” said Pierce O’Neil, CMO, USTA. “There will be thousands of events around the country as a result of us reaching out to the tennis community.”

USA Tennis Month is part of the USA Tennis Plan For Growth, a $50 million industry-wide effort to increase participation. In its first three years, participation is up 27%, equipment sales have jumped and USTA membership is at a high of 615,000.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association is launching its first branding campaign via Euro RSCG DSW Partners, Salt Lake City.

“One thing we hear from our sponsors is, make ski racing cool,” said Dave Johnston, USSA director of licensing. “What Daron Rahlves does at 80 mph is just as edgy and hardcore as anything you’d see in the X Games. This is our opportunity to take control of our brand and communicate our message.” The USSA previously has relied on sponsor ads and promotions as a communications platform.

Print and TV ads feature six USSA athletes, from Olympic moguls champ Donna Weinbrecht to 2001 super G world champ Rahlves. The ads pair “attitude” headlines written across battered skis with a red, white and blue color scheme, tagged with the U.S. Ski Team logo and the slogan,” Home of the Brave.”

“We wanted to play on the idea of patriotism that surrounds the Olympics and tie it with the thrill of doing extraordinary things, while also appealing across generations,” said Jeff Bagley, partner and creative director at DSW Partners.

Calling the campaign a “work of the heart,” Bagley said DSW donated its time to its Park City neighbor, which lacks a budget to create a branding program on its own. The USSA will provide media, however; ads will run in USSA special sections in Ski, Skiing and Newsweek, on partner Yahoo!’s Web site, and on USSA-controlled programming on ESPN and OLN.

The campaign is valued at $500,000, which Johnston said will double next year.

Extra Innings: Bernie Mullin, adding responsibility for marketing and branding activities to his role of supporting NBA team marketing, was promoted to svp-marketing and team business operations. Bill Sutton, formerly an NBA consultant, joins as vp-team marketing services…Ron Erskine (lifestyle division), Scott Seymour (traditional properties) and Jeff Shifrin (special products) all promoted to svp level at Octagon…Todd Waks moves from senior director to vp-West coast operations for SFX team, league and venue services…David Newman, NFL vp-events, goes to svp-marketing and biz development at WCW…U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation retained Coral Gables, Fla.-based Sports & Sponsorships as its exclusive marketing rep.

COPYRIGHT 2001 BPI Communications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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