Tennis Canada serves up inclusivity and diversity

Who: Tennis Canada, with Sid Lee for strategy, creative and production, media by BTA Creates.

What: “All For the Court,” an integrated ad campaign promoting the upcoming National Bank Open tennis tournaments in Toronto and Montreal, while also positioning the sport as one that champions inclusivity.

When & Where: The campaign is running now until Aug. 15, across a wide range of media: broadcast TV (including during Wimbledon coverage on TSN and RDS), The Score, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and La Presse digital platforms, and via social channels.

Why: Canadian tennis is having a moment. It has a number of potentially world-class rising stars, and after being cancelled by the pandemic last year, the two professional tournaments (formally the Rogers Cup) are back with National Bank signing on as title sponsor for the next 10 years—the official tournament name is now the National Bank Open presented by Rogers.

“The launch of the ‘All For The Court’ campaign is a marquee moment for the National Bank Open presented by Rogers, signalling a fresh and exciting new direction for our marquee tournaments on the back of a historic 10-year agreement with our new title partner, National Bank,” said Tennis Canada president and CEO Michael Downey in a release introducing the new campaign.

But rather than just sell the tournaments or the stars, Tennis Canada and Sid Lee focused on the game as an inspiration and source of unity for all players and fans.

How: The campaign is anchored by a rousing 60-second spot about the unifying power of the sport, with the two tournaments only appearing in the background until the last few seconds. The ad is built around a montage of fast-paced action shots featuring young Canadian stars like Bianca Andreescu and Felix Auger-Aliassime, as well as the next generation of up-and-comers.

A narrator talks about defying limits, serving up new traditions, and how the tennis court can be for everyone. “Then maybe what sets us apart can actually bring us together,” he says. “From all nations, to one nation. Because this is our zone, our net, and it doesn’t divide us, it unites us.”

“All for the court at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers,” he says to close the spot.

The messaging is about “inclusivity, diversity, tradition and new possibilities,” explains the release. And it positions the Montreal and Toronto tournaments as “events which gather people together from every walk of life, all with a distinctly Canadian essence.”

The messaging is reminiscent of National Bank’s earlier “Girls. Set.Match” campaign to promote gender equality in Canadian tennis, and aligns with one of its reasons for getting behind Tennis Canada. “We invest in this sport to allow athletes, kids and adults from all sorts of backgrounds to excel and achieve their goals and dreams,” said president and CEO, Louis Vachon when National signed on as title sponsor. “This partnership will enable us to have a positive impact on their development.”

And we quote: “We are witnessing a whole new chapter in Canadian tennis… Our athletes are blessed with incredible talent that inspires us beyond sport, our age, our origins, and our life course. It is their perseverance and passion that unites us and will guide this tournament’s comeback in Canada.” — Jean-François Dumais, executive director of creation, Sid Lee

David Brown