At the start of June, one month ahead of the first service at Wimbledon 2022, Emma Raducanu fronted a campaign called #FeelTheConnection leveraging Vodafone’s status as the Official Connectivity Partner of The Championships.
The summer-long, multi-platform activation, developed in harness with agency Ogilvy UK, seeks to encourage tennis fans and consumers to ‘Feel The Connection’.
Teen tennis sensation Raducanu, who became a Vodafone’s grassroots tennis ambassador in March 2022, is working with the telco promote the brand and its services in all its formats whilst simultaneously helping grow tennis in the UK with the next generation.
The theme of ‘connectivity’ sits at the core of a campaign which seeks to showcase how connectivity can make people to feel connected to Wimbledon in various compelling ways alongside the BBC’s live broadcast coverage. Dropped across the sponsor’s digital and social channels from 1 June, the activation sets out to offer fans a chance to feel what it’s like to actually be there.
The work spans features like haptic technology and is led by a pair of initiatives: ‘Wimbledon Uncovered In 360: Powered By Vodafone’ and ‘VR Walk Of Champions’.
The campaign was spearheaded by a 30-second her spot featuring Hebe, a 10-year-old Emma Raducanu fan, accessing a tennis game on her phone in her garden and, thanks to Vodafone’s ‘VR Walk of Champions’ and ‘Wimbledon Uncovered In 360’ she is able to experience what it’s like to be in Raducanu’s shoes: walking through the corridors to Centre Court and battling it out on tennis’ greatest stage.
— Vodafone UK (@VodafoneUK) June 20, 2022
“My hope is that this campaign inspires lots of kids like Hebe to pick up a tennis racket this summer,” commented Raducanu said. “Wimbledon is special to me so it’s great to try and bring tennis fans closer to the tournament this year.”
#FeelTheConnection also included an OOH strand and appeared in a 3D Piccadilly Lights activation on 27 June on the Ocean’s Deep Screen with Raducanu reimagined as a digital avatar.
The optical illusion, created by created by Berlin-based Mimic Productions, is not dissimilar to Vodafone’s 2021 British and Irish Lions OOH activation which saw a giant rugby ball appear as if it was bursting through the screen.
Ready Player Me avatars are taking over London!
— Ready Player Me @ NFT.NYC (@readyplayerme) July 28, 2021
There is also a Raducanu fronted participatory competition strand running through the tournament on Vodafone UK’s social channels.
Win one of these awesome signed @EmmaRaducanu frames
To enter tell us some inspirational words we can pass on to the Grand Slam winner
— Vodafone UK (@VodafoneUK) June 26, 2022
Guess what? We have 2 MORE pairs of tickets to give away for @Wimbledon
Tell us who you want to share strawberries with in the stands (we do love a punnet) and you could both be courtside soon
— Vodafone UK (@VodafoneUK) June 23, 2022
As well as Raducanu, Vodafone is also activating its Wimbledon 2022 rights with a team of other tennis ambassadors including Jack Draper, Gordon Reid, Alfie Hewett, Tim Henman and Laura Robson including work linked to the LTA’s current ‘Play Your Way / Your Court, Your Rules‘ tennis participation drive..
Are you the UK’s next tennis ⭐?
Share your best shots using #FeelTheConnection and you could get expert advice on your form from British no.4 @jackdraper0 as part of Play Your Way to Wimbledon with @wimbledon & @the_LTA pic.twitter.com/r9Wf3eKczH
— Vodafone UK (@VodafoneUK) June 10, 2022
With creative led by Ogilvy UK, the campaign’s media was handled by Carat, while We Are Social was the social media lead and sports and entertainment marketing agency Fuse oversaw the relationship between Wimbledon and Vodafone.
This immersive campaign, shot with Vodafone’s 360 camera and film technology offers a chance to feel like one is actually in the game experiencing it from all angles.
It follows on from Vodafone’s earlier, March 2022 ‘Play Your Way To Wimbledon’ work featuring Raducanu.
Vodafone’s summer tennis activation ran alongside its ‘VeryMe’’ campaign spotlighting the rewards (including Wimbledon tickets) on offer to customers.
“This summer is going to be one of the biggest, most exciting yet, because of what’s happened to us over the last couple of years,” explained Vodafone UK Head Of Brand Maria Koutsoudakis. “So, the need for [people] to reconnect with things that make the British calendar so exciting, is going to be even greater. How do we tap into that sense of excitement and anticipation? The power of technology to bring people closer, to not only physically close the gap but emotionally close the gap, and make them feel something they didn’t feel before is at the heart of what we do.”
Commenting on the appearance of Raducanu and other tennis endorsers throughout the campaign, Koutsoudakis said: “As with any invisible brand, it’s super important that you start to personify the brand for the audience and the company you keep. We’ve got a plethora of ambassadors we’re working with from all walks of tennis life. A lot of this is about creating an inclusive roster of ambassadors that are relatable to our audience and giving us more faces to have more conversations with more people.”