Wilson asks ‘Is it legal?’

December 19, 2011

CHICAGO — Wilson Racquet Sports, a division of leading sports equipment manufacturer Wilson Sporting Goods, is breaking from its traditional product launches by asking the question, “Is It Legal?” in reference to its new racket technology launching this January. A fictional International Tennis Court is the setting for a mock trial, investigation and examination of evidence where tennis players and ball boys argue the legality of its new rackets, the Juice and the Steam. The campaign, which debuts today on, will utilize Wilson’s key tour players including Petra Kvitova, Feliciano Lopez and Kei Nishikori.

The four-phase “Tennis Court” campaign extends through 2012, supporting all major Grand Slam events, and ends in September 2012 with the final verdict. The irreverent campaign is live on Wilson’s Facebook page and and will be supported by advertising, including TV, print, digital and in-store components. Print ads debut in the January/February issue of Tennis magazine, while TV ads will launch on the Tennis Channel in the first quarter, 2012.

“The new Wilson Juice and Steam rackets were designed to produce incredible amounts of power and spin,” said Mike Steck, global marketing director for Wilson Racquet Sports. “This campaign gives our retailers a strong sales tool to support the debut of these rackets. This campaign is a comprehensive effort that not only gives retailers online tools, but also compelling in-store visuals. As this is a new generation of Wilson rackets, unlike anything Wilson has previously introduced, we needed a marketing approach that would differentiate our products. This is a departure for Wilson, and we intend to have some fun with it. ”

Specifically, the effort includes: tongue-in-cheek player “endorsements” of the new racket technology with reporters vying for the inside scoop; a film showing the “trial” in progress; a Facebook page and a mobile site where consumers can vote on the evidence; print ads, posters and banners; life-size mockups for POP featuring Wilson tour players; and playful hangtags warning consumers to use caution when playing with the new rackets.

In the print portion of the campaign, Wilson athletes who play the Juice and the Steam are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Their identities have been hidden by the fictional International Tennis Court. “Behind the black bands, there’s an unmistakable sense of humor,” continued Steck. “Players often refer to their racket as a weapon. What if a racket is so good, it was considered illegal?”

In a selection of the films, consumers will be brought courtside at the International Tennis Court, and will hear first-hand testimony from competitors complaining about the technology to ball boys “whining” about difficulties they face because of the rackets’ performance.

“We expect the campaign to take on a life of its own once consumers start weighing in on the evidence and commenting on the characters,” noted Steck. “This is a complete change for how we introduce a product – we are putting a different spin on things by showcasing this best-in-class technology and more fully engaging our players and our fans.”

The Juice and the Steam are designed for players looking for a combination of power and spin. The Juice series is available in: Juice Pro, offering a unique modern feel for the big hitting power and spin; the Juice 100, with Wilson’s Amplifeel grip system, is designed for a wide range of players of all levels and ages; and the Juice 108, with a larger head size and lighter weight design, also features Wilson’s Amplifeel.

The Steam series includes: The Steam Pro, providing a unique weight and balance for big power and spin for experienced players, used by Kei Nishikori; and the Steam 100, providing a lighter-weight, modern feel used by Ernests Gulbis and Petra Kvitova.

To view the film/televisions ads, log onto: