For your reading pleasure, from the NY Times: 1. Campaign Spotlight: Tennis Bids for a Diverse Future ======================================================= Those with long memories may recall characters in plays who bounded on stage in white flannels and asked brightly, "Tennis, anyone?" Now, the United States Tennis Association has embarked on an ambitious campaign to encourage a lot more anyones, particularly from more diverse backgrounds, to play. The campaign, with a budget estimated at $3 million, seeks to dispel belief that tennis is a sport with a limited appeal -- primarily to white, higher-income players -- by reaching out to demographic categories like African-Americans, Hispanics, blue-collar workers, fitness buffs and older Americans. The campaign, now under way, is created by Vigilante, a New York agency that specializes in urban-oriented advertising, along with an internal team at the tennis association. The new, more inclusive approach taken by the campaign, with television, print, online and promotional elements, is evident in the theme it introduces: "Tennis. Come out swinging," as well as in the rainbow coalition of celebrities -- none of them professional tennis players -- appearing in the initial batch of ads. They are the boxer Roy Jones Jr.; Daisy Fuentes, the model, actress and promoter of the Winsor Pilates fitness program; the Nascar driver Jeff Gordon; and Mike Wallace, the longtime CBS journalist. Some of the ads are in Spanish as well as English. The campaign echoes efforts by marketers of consumer products to broaden their customer bases by appealing to different types of shoppers. The tricky task is of course to find an effective way to appeal to new people without putting off those already buyers (or in this instance, players). "We're speaking to perceptions our sport is still an elitist, country-club sport," says Michelle Difilippantonio, senior director for marketing at the tennis association in White Plains. "Players like James Blake and Venus and Serena Williams have moved the needle, but not enough, in our opinion." So the campaign seeks to deliver "a more relevant message to a multicultural audience," she adds, as well as "put tennis back into the pop culture, like in the heyday of the 70's" when brash players including John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors took some of the prim-and-proper starch out of the image of tennis. The "Come out swinging" theme created by Vigilante is intended as "a call to action," Ms. Difilippantonio says, to direct would-be players to a network of more than 3,400 Tennis Welcome Centers across the country, in parks, tennis clubs, resorts, health clubs and campuses, where they can get introduced to the game. (Information about the centers is available online at tenniswelcomecenter.com.) "Research showed us that people who wanted to get involved in the sport didn't know where to go to get in the game," she adds. "So participation is the focus." For instance, the ad featuring Mr. Jones declares that "like boxing, a round of tennis burns calories, increases agility and improves foot speed. All with fewer shots to the head." The ad with Mr. Wallace carries the headline "As hard hitting as ever" and promises that when it comes to playing tennis, "60 minutes and you're hooked." The ad featuring Ms. Fuentes asserts that an hour of tennis can burn more calories than "hiking, riding a stationary bike, doing low-impact aerobics or running to meetings." And the ad with Mr. Gordon, carrying the headline "Always hits top speed," calls tennis "a great way to get on track to a better body" that can "get your heart really racing." "To capture these audiences, you need to speak to them differently from the way tennis talks to its core audience," says Danny Robinson, chief creative officer at Vigilante, part of the Publicis Groupe, which has also created campaigns for General Motors and Major League Baseball intended to attract consumers from more varied backgrounds. "Here, the idea was how can we take a more aggressive stance to people who didn't perceive tennis as cool," he says, "who think it's an easy sport to play that doesn't require the athleticism of football or basketball." "But it's a tough sport that requires stamina and is a great way to get fit, not a walk-in-the-park kind of sport," Mr. Robinson, himself a tennis player, adds. "Come out swinging' is a simple statement that explains what we want the perception of tennis to be." To appeal to new types of players, Mr. Robinson says, the campaign was produced to look unlike other tennis ads, with "aggressive photography" of the celebrities, "bright, bold colors" and no one dressed in tennis whites. In fact, Mr. Jones has no shirt on at all, only his boxing trunks. "That would never happen at Wimbledon," Mr. Robinson says, laughing, "but when you're playing tennis in the city, you take off your shirt." Similarly, Mr. Gordon is dressed as he would be for a Nascar race; Mr. Wallace is wearing newsroom garb, a shirt with rolled-up sleeves, dress slacks and a tie; and Ms. Fuentes is sporting an embroidered top with a tennis-racquet design at the center with mesh where the racquet strings would be, exposing some cleavage. "The only two cues to typical tennis" in each ad, Mr. Robinson says with a chuckle, are the inclusion of a tennis ball and a racquet. The tennis association enlisted for the campaign the Tennis Industry Association and other organizations, so the "Come out swinging" message will be broadened beyond advertising to include unusual promotions. They will appear on the labels of 25 million cans of tennis balls bearing brands like Dunlop, Penn and Wilson; on the hang tags of 2.5 million tennis racquets made by companies like Head, Prince and Wilson; on inserts stuffed into boxes of tennis shoes sold by companies like Adidas and Nike; and on banners in 1,000 sporting-goods stores as well as the Tennis Welcome Centers. The print ads will appear as eight-page inserts in the April and May issues of magazines including ESPN Magazine, Fitness, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Runner's World, Shape, Tennis Magazine, Travel and Leisure and Vibe. Inserts will also appear in USA Today and 50 local newspapers across the country. And a commercial promoting the Tennis Welcome Centers will appear during coverage of tennis tournaments on networks like ESPN, ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel.