Stars take center court in WTA marketing

St. Petersburg, FL: The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) served its first major marketing volley on the eve of Wimbledon, with GCI's London office providing PR support to a global marketing campaign launched yesterday.

St. Petersburg, FL: The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) served its first major marketing volley on the eve of Wimbledon, with GCI's London office providing PR support to a global marketing campaign launched yesterday.

Riding the popularity of top-ranked players like Serena Williams and her sister Venus, the WTA undertook a brand-building push last year that included dropping sponsor Sanex from its official name and creating a new logo, explained CEO Larry Scott.

The new campaign, "Get in Touch with Your Feminine Side," includes TV and print ads produced by TBWA\Chiat\Day highlighting the personalities and attractiveness of stars and emerging players, while stressing high-caliber competition and the global nature of women's tennis, Scott said.

"Serena raises the bar for everybody," he added. "The Williams sisters are helping us, as a sport, bring in different types of audiences." The campaign draws attention to the on-court performances and off-court lives of top players, and Scott hopes featuring the Williams

sisters prominently will help attract nontraditional minority fans to the sport.

"Women's professional tennis is the leading global sport for women in large part because of the athleticism, personalities, and attitude of our players," said Scott, who joined the WTA staff two months ago.

He quickly called on an old friend for strategic PR counsel. Jeff Hunt, president and CEO of GCI Read-Poland in Austin, TX, has served the men's Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) since his days as European COO for Burson-Marsteller. Scott worked as the ATP's COO before shifting his attention to women's tennis.

"I asked him to help me with some very specific priorities I have in my first 100 days,

particularly related to communications with constituents," Scott said. Hunt is charged with helping improve communication with and build affinity among WTA members and

tour organizers.

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