USTA Serves Up an Ace

If you asked 100 teens what their favorite sport is, I bet less than 5 of them would answer tennis. As popular as tennis is world-wide, it’s just not as attractive to the younger generation as professional hockey or baseball.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) wants to change that. According to this post by Tim Nudd on, the USTA has commissioned a new campaign aimed at millennials which works to highlight the many benefits of playing tennis. The agency in charge of the campaign is DDB New York.

The theme of the campaign is “Tennis Makes You,” and according to the spots, tennis can make you “smarter, stronger, invincible, happier, and attractive.”

Here’s the five short online spots all put together in one video:

Personally my favourite spot is “invincible.”

The spots were directed by Jared Hess, perhaps best known for his cult classic Napoleon Dynamitewhich helps to explain the “offbeat” style of the messages.

Personally I think these spots are great. They reel viewers in with claims such as “Tennis makes you invincible,” and show a funny little skit which I think really appeals to the target audience.

After capturing our attention they then provide actual information about the benefits of tennis, and physical activity in general. The ending of the “invincible” ad says, “Research shows people who play tennis regularly cut their risk of death by any cause in half.”

So what do you think, is the USTA on the right path to increasing awareness and involvement in their game among the younger generation?


Expedia Escapes

Everyone’s got one. I’ve got about a dozen. I know you’ve got one.

I’m talking about that one commercial that you just can’t stand for one reason or another. The one that makes you run out of the room any time it comes on. The one that makes you want to throw your television out the window. Oh, that’s only me? Okay, well still, you know the type of commercial I’m talking about. Keep your most hated commercial in mind while reading.

Now there are many reasons commercials become so hated, whether it is simply a poorly designed commercial or it’s just over-played. The reasons aren’t so important. What’s important is whether or not the company listens to viewers and how it responds to criticism about the commercial.

One example that has been featured on recently is the Expedia “Escape Winter” commercial. Here’s the commercial that started this ordeal:

Now I don’t think this ad is inherently bad, but I can certainly understand why people would be frustrated after seeing it over and over again.

Some viewers were so annoyed by the shrill violin noise in the commercial that they wrote to Expedia on social media to express their displeasure. One viewer said, “I need a vacation from your commercial.” This article by Michelle DiPardo delves into the situation a little bit deeper.

Instead of continuing to run the ad, Grip Limited, Expedia’s creative agency, decided to have a little bit of fun with it. They produced three more commercials, (#2 & #3), which featured the father from the original ad throwing the violin outside and eventually smashing it.

To top it off Expedia dedicated the violin smashing commercial to everyone who complained about the commercial by showing their screen names and comments on screen.


Expedia could show some companies a thing or two about listening to its audience.

This type of reaction from companies and advertising agencies is rare. Sure, they may pull the ad off the air or throw in some minor tweaks, but to go as far as to produce three new commercials poking fun at themselves and even involve the viewers is unheard of.

I think by doing this Expedia and Grip Limited avoided a PR nightmare and made the best of what could have been a messy situation. If only all companies were this responsive to complaints.

Now think again about the commercial you hate the most. Would hate this commercial slightly less, or perhaps even laugh at it now if the company had handled the situation the way Expedia did? I know it would help me.

The Importance of Good Communication

The key to any successful team, whether it is a football team or a marketing team, is good communication.

This article from Marketing Magazine, written by Shelley Pringle, examines the importance of good communication between Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Social Media Marketers (SMMs) in a business and offers six questions that can be used to start a dialogue.

Marketing Magazine publishes articles with topics ranging from media planning and buying, digital marketing, and television to reports on multicultural marketing and agency rankings.

Marketing Magazine publishes articles with topics ranging from media planning and buying, digital marketing, and television to reports on multicultural marketing and agency rankings.

First of all, let’s look at why communication is important. Pringle says that because social media is merely one aspect of a business (albeit an increasingly important one), proper communication can ensure social media goals are in line with and complimentary to the business’ overall goals.

This makes sense; you’re not going to launch a TV campaign that conflicts with the business’ image and goals, so why would you do it on social media?

Another reason good communication is important is because the CMO usually controls resources and funding. If the CMO is unaware of what the SMM is doing and why, then the necessary time and/or funding may not be allocated to social media. This just produces poor efforts that certainly don’t benefit the business.

There are many social media platforms that businesses can use to engage customers.

There are many social media platforms that businesses can use to engage customers.

So why does this lack of communication and understanding happen in the first place? I think part of it is because social media is relatively new and constantly changing. This constant change can be intimidating for businesses.

Pringle writes that because CMOs may not be as familiar with social media, they may not see the purpose or value that a SMM sees. This is another reason good communication between the two parties is important.

Without further ado, let’s look at Pringle’s six questions that need to be asked. The first three are pretty straight forward:

  • Which social media platform(s) are you using?
  • Why did you pick these ones?
  • How are you using them?

Again, pretty basic questions, but they can certainly start a very useful dialogue.

The next three questions are a bit more in-depth and can really turn a CMO on or off social media.

  • How are you measuring results?
  • Have results met expectations?
  • What are you doing to improve and correct efforts?

These questions can really help the CMO to understand that the SMM knows his or her role, that social media is important to the business and that it is being used correctly.

So next time you see a company poorly using social media, you’ll know that there must have been a communication breakdown somewhere.