The build-up to the US Open is well under way, and Cint has found that more than half (51%) of American consumers plan to watch the tournament this year, with 55% stating that a US Open commercial is ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ likely to influence their perception of a brand.
Certainly potential sponsorship platforms such as this one offer many, multi-layered opportunities to build positive associations with sport and entertainment spectacle.
There’s much to play for. And with the last Grand Slam of the tennis season drawing the attention of millions, it’s important that sponsors and advertisers understand what US Open viewers want to see from brands, and how best to achieve success with their campaigns.
The battle for attention
Cint’s data has shown, for instance, that humor wins for ad memorability, with 54% of viewers reporting that humor would make them remember an ad, followed by a catchy song and then either the product itself, or celebrity or influencer involvement. That said, to win the attention battle, other strategies are needed, too, with a recent WARC article stressing the need for brands to marry humor and purpose.
This is backed up by our most recent Cint Snap, which found that 54% of consumers want real world issues such as inequality to be included in this year’s US Open commercials. In fact, 83% of Americans support female tennis players getting paid as much as their male counterparts – with more than six in ten of the opinion that male players have a responsibility to speak out about the gender pay gap that still exists.
Real world issues
While the US Open has offered equal pay since 1973 – as the first of the four Grand Slam tournaments to do so – the Women’s Tennis Association has said it hopes to even out remuneration for major men and women’s tennis events by 2033, with a recent article in the New York Times reporting that women still competed for significantly less than men at the Italian Open last month; making it one of several major tournaments that pay players of different genders vastly different amounts.
In contrast, the US Open will see the men’s and women’s singles champions each taking home £2.37m, with the runners-up earning £1.18 million. “There is no better – or bigger – way to celebrate the end of summer than at the US Open in New York,” said ESPN president John Skipper, more than ten years after the sports channel signed an 11-year deal at $770 million that would give it the rights to broadcast the tournament.
Building positive brand association
And it does seem that ESPN’s investment has successfully made it front of mind during this two-week long sporting and entertainment extravaganza: According to Cint’s data, the top three brands most associated with the Open by consumers are American Express, ESPN and Chase. Following hot on the heels of this triumvirate are luxury brands such as Rolex and Polo Ralph Lauren.
Chase describes itself as ‘committed to supporting the hard work, excellence and competitive spirit of the very best in tennis’ while American Express – a partner since 1994 – is again unveiling a series of experiences and exclusive benefits for Card Members and tennis fans; whether watching the action live, or following remotely.
This is wise, as when it comes to the ways in which viewers plan to engage with the sporting spectacle, Cint also found that 77% of US consumers are planning to watch on cable TV or a streaming service and almost half (49%) live. And with just under a third (32%) very likely to follow the US Open on social media, half of these are also somewhat or very likely to post about it, too. And, when we asked which social media platforms individuals plan to monitor, Facebook came out top followed by Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat.
A snapshot into the minds of consumers
It’s critical to keep abreast of consumer attitudes and behaviors such as these, especially when brands are investing massive amounts in the hope of positive association with high-profile and much-loved sporting events and longer term brand memorability. Our research technology is here to help our customers to post questions and get answers from real people, in real time – and to use these insights to build business strategies, publish research, and accurately measure the impact of advertising efforts.