Tennis: A history in ads

Wimbledon is upon us. No better excuse, then, to look at 5 of the most memorable tennis ads.

One brand above all others is intrinsically linked with the British public’s annual flirtation with tennis, Britvic’s Robinsons , which has an association with the tournament dating back to the 1930s. In this spot a young lad takes the opportunity to quaff Pat Cash’s glass of the fruit drink, while the antipodean 1986 champion fumbles for a pen to sign an autograph for the boy’s mother.

To more generously haired champions……Andre Agassi, 1992 champion and crowd favourite, was obviously considered a rebel and, err, style icon in the early 90s. Exhibit A, this Cannon ad starring the impressively mulleted one for its Rebel range featuring the strapline “Image is everything”. Different times, clearly.

In the grand Nike tradition of subverting perception, this spot starring Maria Sharapova sees the aesthetically pleasing 2004 champion being met with the song “I’m so pretty” as she walks from hotel to court with a straight face. It concludes with Sharapova determinedly ordering “Let’s Play”. She might be pretty, but she’s a fierce competitor. Geddit?

The most shared and celebrated tennis themed spot in the internet age is this 2010 clip that spawned hundreds of imitators and lots of “did that just happen?”. In a promotional film for a Gillette/British Skin Foundation partnership, Roger Federer is seen (or is he?) knocking a can off a crew member’s head with a lightening quick serve. Still astounding.

To the Great British hope for victory in 2013, Andy Murray. The Scot has appeared in surprisingly few ads for household UK brand names in the UK. This US clip for watchmaker Rado is typical/ull of cliché – precision timing (check), excellence (check).

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