The oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament is in full swing. Aces are being served, strawberries and cream are being devoured, and fans are finally back to witness The Championships, Wimbledon.
But in comparison to other tennis tournaments, Wimbledon’s marketing strategy noticeably differs. In other Grand Slams, it’s commonplace for a company’s logo to be plastered on athlete’s clothing and the court. Yet in Wimbledon, the grounds are not commercialised and the “all white” rule means that athlete sponsorship is discrete, which the organisers claim is to retain the unique look and feel of The Championships.
However, despite marketing teams having little input in their partnerships, brands continue to be drawn in by the prestige that comes with supporting Wimbledon. The tournament now has an impressive 14 official sponsors. But how much of an effect does sponsorship really have on viewers?
Using Relative Insight, we analysed how people discussed three of the major drinks suppliers on social media. Namely, Pimms, Sipsmith and Evian. To do this, we collected tweets which included brand mentions of these three drinks sponsors along with the keyword “Wimbledon”, over the course of The Championships so far. We then compared them against one another to measure the impact of each brand’s individual sponsorship.
In our analysis, we found that brand mentions of Pimm’s were rooted amongst other Wimbledon traditions. For instance, people discussed the quintessentially British idea of drinking Pimm’s whilst watching the Wimbledon tournament play out. They were also 3.9x more likely to talk about Pimm’s alongside strawberries and cream – a tradition that is embedded in Wimbledon history. Although Pimm’s only became an official supplier to Wimbledon in 2017, clearly fans view Pimm’s as part of the legacy, suggesting that the sponsorship is natural and fitting for both sides.
We also discovered that people on Twitter were 2.3x more likely to associate Pimm’s with a specific time, such as summer or their marketing slogan Pimm’s O’clock. The phrase Pimm’s O’Clock has become an iconic soundbite of British summertime, which aligns well with Wimbledon – the hotly anticipated sporting event of the summer.
Sipsmith is the newest sponsor to be added to Wimbledon’s commercial roster, becoming the first official gin supplier of the tournament. We found that people talking about Sipsmith were 4.9x more likely to claim it was the perfect tipple to watch Wimbledon with. Does this mark the beginning of a long and successful partnership?
In comparison to brand mentions of other drinks sponsors, people talking about Sipsmith were infinitely more likely to discuss the brand’s Wimbledon adverts. Having kicked off their partnership with a humorous campaign featuring Mr Swan claiming “Wimbledon is now the official Tennis of Sipsmith Gin”, people on Twitter have responded positively. Some claimed the ad is the “wittiest ad out there” and “one of the few funny things on TV”. Clearly, Sipsmith’s sponsorship of Wimbledon and their subsequent activation is getting people talking!
Water is something that rarely divides people. It’s pretty plain and simple after all. However, Evian’s sponsorship of Wimbledon has caused a green debate to emerge on Twitter.
In response to Evian’s partnership with Wimbledon, Twitter users have pointed out various environmental and green issues with promoting plastic water bottles. Words and phrases such as recycling, environment and single use plastic were infinitely more likely to appear in this data set, highlighting the sustainable awareness of Wimbledon viewers. This insight also sheds light on wider consumer trends in sustainability and the increasing demand for brands adopt a “planet first” mindset.
Each of the Wimbledon sponsors leverage their partnerships differently. However, by tracking like-for-like brand mentions over the course of the tournament, we are able to further understand how brand partnerships are received by consumers. These social insights enable brands to understand the mindset of their audience, and measure partnership or campaign effectiveness.