Game, Set and Match

Jaguars Feel Wimbledon campaign played out on giant digital screens across London

In any Awards programme, the judges are looking for something pretty special for the Grand Prix Award. In the 2015 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards, they found it in the shape of the Jaguar/Mindshare entry for their Feel Wimbledon campaign.

2015 saw the start of a five-year partnership between Jaguar and Wimbledon, and to activate it, the luxury car-maker was keen to come up with an idea that would drive brand fame and social engagement across The Championships.

There were some challenges to overcome, however. The first was the very nature of the Wimbledon Championships. Even if your only experience of the event is via TV coverage, you probably get a feel for the almost anti-commercial way in which it conducts itself. The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC), where the tournament is held, would never countenance anything as vulgar as billboard advertising within the grounds, so ‘Official Suppliers’ – Wimbledon doesn’t have sponsors – have to find more subtle ways to leverage their participation.

Brand transformation
There was a second, more fundamental challenge facing Jaguar, however, as Mindshare’s joint head of strategy, Chris Cardew, explains: “When Wimbledon first approached Jaguar, they did so because they saw it as a premium British brand, targeting the gin-drinking, golf-playing CEO, which was a great fit for the event in many ways,” he says. “The problem with this was that Jaguar was in the midst of a brand transformation. Heritage and performance were still important of course, but we were really trying to establish more modern, contemporary and exciting credentials with a younger audience; to drive perception of Jaguar as a technology innovator, up there with the likes of Audi and BMW.”

In essence, the message Mindshare wanted to put across was that the Jaguar brand is about performance that excites the senses; that driving a Jaguar is like nothing else you’ll experience. “It was less about the Britishness and the heritage of the brand, more about the emotion.” says Cardew.

This concept of emotion gave the Mindshare team an idea. They could see some common ground between how it feels to drive a Jaguar and how it feels to be at the Wimbledon tournament watching some of the incredible action. If they could somehow tap into this, they might be onto something.

While Jaguar loved the idea in principle, the Wimbledon team were less excited about it.

“They had some reservations,” says Cardew. “I think they were just surprised we weren’t playing on the heritage idea. “When we explained why, they were cool with that, but I think they just struggled to get their heads round it initially. I don’t think anyone had ever tried before this to explore the idea of how watching a match at Wimbledon makes you feel, but they liked the idea that we were celebrating the brilliance of the tournament as much as we were of the Jaguar brand.”

With both Jaguar and Wimbledon on board, things were moving in the right direction. There still remained the small issue, however, of how to turn this insight and this idea into a campaign.
“We knew that to deliver against the campaign objectives we really needed to try to capture what Wimbledon feels like,” says Cardew. “Then, through the intelligent use of data, we could share that with people who couldn’t watch the games live, but who might want to follow the action from their office or their commute home, and feel some of the same excitement.”

Emotional response
But what would this data measure or look like? Mindshare’s idea was to try and measure the emotional response of the fans watching live to the action they were enjoying. To do so, they would issue bespoke wearable tech to spectators in the grounds that would measure their heart rate and movement to get a feel for their emotional response to the action. Meanwhile, beacons placed around the ground would capture the atmosphere and the energy of the tournament. The data collected would be analysed and interpreted and then used as the basis for a ton of content that would give tennis fans around the world a real-time sense of the Wimbledon feeling.

Again, the Mindshare team had set themselves a logistical challenge with the idea. While the AELTC is keen to establish its own digital credentials, and recently celebrated a 25-year technology partnership with IBM, its hierarchy tend to believe that if you’re there to watch the tennis, you should watch the tennis. Most of Wimbledon’s own digital output is intended for people who are not in the grounds, so they were wary of the wearable tech proving a distraction to those spectators wearing it, or those around them.

To their credit though, having been convinced of the unobtrusive nature of the wristbands, they went for it, despite some renewed reservations caused by the awful terrorist beach attack in Tanzania just the week before the tournament began.

Outdoor screens
The results justified the amount of effort, planning and thought that had gone into the campaign. On average, 24 pieces of live and great-looking content were created and distributed each day. These were streamed to a bespoke mobile site, and also seeded via social channels and giant outdoor screens at Canary Wharf, Piccadilly Circus, Victoria Station and Westfield, as well as other sites across London. These enabled tennis fans not able to attend the tournament to get a feel for the action, and the crowd’s emotional response to it. All with subtle Jaguar branding.

On one level, this perfectly mirrored Jaguar’s brand purpose as a creator of sensory and emotive experiences. On another, it delivered fantastic fan engagement. Jaguar was the most talked about brand on social media across The Championships fortnight, achieving a 27 per cent share of voice, with the #FeelWimbledon hashtag used almost 8,000 times, the most used hashtag of any partner brand.

While proud of the work, Cardew says the Mindshare team are aware of some areas in which it could have been better activated, and says that Mindshare and Jaguar will be running with the same theme at this year’s tournament, but trying to move it on a little.

“We feel we have established it now” he says. “The idea last year was to bring tennis fans closer to the emotional feeling of watching the games. This year, we want to move from broadcasting the fans’ emotions to creating a slightly more immersive experience. So instead of telling you what someone watching on centre court is feeling, enable you to put yourself in their shoes and experience it for yourself.”

Ah, a Virtual Reality twist then? VR, after all, also fared well in this year’s Awards, with OMD’s VR-themed campaign for Virgin Holidays picking up almost as many Awards – three – as Feel Wimbledon’s four. Given the current hype around VR, you wouldn’t bet against it. Cardew though, is non-committal. “You’ll just have to wait and see,” he says. “But rest assured, we’re not resting on our laurels. Doing great work that wins awards is a great feeling, so we hope to be back for more with this year’s campaign.”

This article first appeared in the February 2016 print edition of Mobile Marketing. You can read the whole issue here.