WTA Campaign Tells Social ‘Strong Is Beautiful’ Stories

In May, the WTA launched ‘Strong Is Beautiful’ – an integrated, 80-market, 24-month campaign featuring women’s’ tennis stars sharing their personal stories online and on social media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (as well as TV, print and more traditional platforms).


It focuses on the personal stories, struggles, pressures, inspirations and dreams of the players and features 38 current and up-and-coming stars.


A set of star player imagery lies at the heart of the campaign. The Dewey Nicks and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ creative transitions from white dresses and ground strokes to black clothing and smashes.


Indeed, one of the new spots opens with a slow-motion film of top players hitting ground strokes while wearing billowy dresses and scarves, while a voiceover says “What are little girls made of? They’re made of sugar and spice”, before Caroline Wozniacki, wearing a black dress with spaghetti straps, hits an overhead smash and adds, “And sweat. And fury. And grit. And strength. That’s what little girls are made of.”



Another ad features Ana Ivanovic hit a single forehand while an off-screen fan blows back her long hair and a shawl, before she says “During the war in Serbia, they bombed us all day and all night. But if I got up early enough, I could practice before the planes came.”



While Chinese tennis player Na Li’s spot sees her say “China is a country of 1.3 billion people. Yet we’ve never had a No. 1 player or Grand Slam champion. No pressure.”



According to WTA CEO Stacey Allaster, the objective of the initiative is to establish deeper engagement and convert peripheral fans into diehards.


“We want to attract a new generation of fans,” explains Allaster. “The unique combination of athleticism, strength and determination on the court and success, interests and inner beauty off the court is what makes women’s tennis so attractive to millions around the world.”




The WTA has been working particularly hard to bring about change in tennis. In addition to this campaign, in the last 18 months it has rebranded, renewed its global partnership with Sony Ericsson, upgraded its deal with vitamin brand USANA and signed three major sponsors who are largely new to the sport: European cosmetics brand Oriflame, Chinese apparel company Peak and Australian airline Jetstar.


Tennis in general has been suffering from falling live TV viewing and lower adult participation – especially in the Western World. It’s not just governing bodies who are responding by trying to bring about a tennis revolution – exploring faster surfaces, shorter sets, ending lets, axing warm ups, using ball tracking technologies and encouraging more maverick player personalities, rights holders and sponsors are also trying to connect the game with a more urban, youthful demographic.


This year the Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) set up a social media unit, the Grand Slams were broadcast in 3D and the Madrid Open even ran a virtual tennis game in which players competed for prizes online in an initiative specifically designed to engage a younger audience.


The solution de jour, in activation terms at least, is to explore digital, new media, social and future facing platforms to develop more valued engagements and connect with younger audiences.




Caroline Wozniacki:


Ana Ivanovic:


Li Na:


WTA Website

Leave a comment


Featured Showcases

Leave a comment