Open For Business.(Heineken Usa Inc., Tennis Marketing)

2219 words - 9 pages

Program: Heineken tennisMarketer: Heineken USA, White Plains, N.Y.Agencies: Lowe/SMS, N.Y. (ads); Ryan, Westport, Conn.(promotion); Dunwoodie, N.Y. (pr)Key players:Heineken: Steve Davis, vp-mktg; Ken Kunze, brand dir; Scott Hunter Smith, brand mgr; Pepe Carreras, assoc brand mgr; Steve Hauser, field mktg dir;Lowe: Lee Garfinkle, co-CEO/chief crtv officer; Michael Silver, evp;Ryan: Mary Perry, up; Rob Gotti, mgng dir;Dunwoodie: Roy Bumsted, CEO, Lorraine Raguseo, grp upBack in 1995, Heineken decided to pull its considerable international clout out of golf sponsorships and instead beef up its exposure to tennis. Gone from its promotional calendar were such major golf events as the Heineken Dutch Open, the Australian Open and the World Cup of Golf. Filling the vacuum the next years was an ambitious five-year sponsorship with the U.S. Tennis Association that elevated the Dutch beer brand to the top-tier status of a USTA "Corporate Champion," joining such other megabrands as IBM, Citizen, Nissan Infiniti and Prudential Securities. Suddenly the red star and green bottle had marshalled a presence at events that include one of the highest-visibility tournaments in the country, the U.S. Open in Flushing, N.Y. Outsiders pegged the value of the sponsorship at about $30 million over its five-year lifetime.From the perspective of Heineken USA in White Plains, N.Y. all this was occurring as recreational tennis seemed to continue its long decline in participation, and not long before the bursting on the scene of Tiger Woods energized golf and helped put it on its torrid growth track in participation, awareness and sponsorship dollars. Did Heineken read the market wrong, and bet on the wrong pony?Its marketers offer a resounding "no," even as they do their post-ups on the company's third year of the company's USTA "megasponsorship," the jewel in the crown, the U.S. Open. Rather, Heineken USA execs cite an unusual coalescence of the two entities' positioning and strategies, the pragmatics of a cluttered sponsorship environment and, of course, the degree to which matters of marketing leverage and local execution spell the real difference between a successful tie and an unsuccessful one. For Heineken, a burst of marketing leverage around the U.S. Open ran the gamut from ingenious TV and radio spots exploiting the tennis association to the increasingly elaborate role played by endorser John McEnroe in winning visibility both at the games and in supermarkets.From a strategic point of view, both Heineken and tennis are following parallel imperatives, to create a greater sense of relevance and excitement for their products among a younger audience, and to shed an elitist image that has closed off some growth opportunities for both.As for the pragmatics, while golf may be hot lately, it is a much more difficult sport for a sponsor to "own" on account of the greater diversity of activities that would have to be acquired and orchestrated to have a meaningful impact.At the...

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