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While the rest of the world was in the grip of World Cup fever, Wimbledon was quietly making its presence felt. The tennis tournament released a creative animation of its long history, which celebrates the brand’s prestigious legacy while also showing the institution's evolution with the times. We discover the insights behind the ad and explore how it engages viewers by bringing the tournament’s heritage to life.

Wimbledon’s #takeonhistory ad takes an innovative approach to history with an animated launch film celebrating the tournament’s gloried past. The 60-second spot depicts a single continuous tennis rally that takes place against a changing historical backdrop, reflecting the evolution of the tournament over the past 150 years. Viewers are taken on a journey through time, from the origins of lawn tennis to the feats of modern-day icons like Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Created by McCann London, the ad aims to highlight Wimbledon’s rich heritage. “This beautifully crafted film depicts the tireless pursuit of greatness Wimbledon represents, not just for our players and fans but as a global event,” said James Ralley, head of marketing at the All England Club. “[We] are immensely proud to show the richness of our history through amazingly imaginative illustrations and incredible craftsmanship.”

The ad takes a creative approach to celebrating Wimbledon’s legacy
Wimbledon | YouTube (2018) ©

The short clip fits into Wimbledon’s long-running ‘In Pursuit of Greatness’ campaign, and sees the tournament partner with award-winning agency Nexus Studios in order to produce an animation that feels fun, while remaining true to the brand’s values of quality and precision. Indeed, part of the ad’s appeal lies in its careful attention to detail – as the years tick past and the tennis champions in the film change, so do the illustration styles. “We’re really proud of this campaign, which perfectly captures how much Wimbledon has changed over the years and gone from strength to strength,” remarked Rob Doubal, McCann London’s chief creative officer. “The guys at Nexus were incredible at capturing the changing styles, not just of design and fashion, but of the Club, the players’ techniques and the atmosphere. All while staying true to the Wimbledon brand people know and love today.”

Wimbledon turned a profit of £42 million in 2017, and its sought-after seats sell out without fail every year. People might not immediately associate the prestigious tennis tournament with cartoons, and it's this creative juxtaposition that makes the #takeonhistory ad so engaging. The campaign resonates with youth who like their heritage brands to take playful approaches to their long legacies, and fits into wider efforts from the tournament to balance its traditional values with modern marketing. With three in five Britons saying they associate British brands with ‘quality’, the timeless film also helps people feel part of an illustrious history that is still evolving. As consumers begin to appreciate advertising innovation, the time is ripe for luxury brands to find similar ways of highlighting their classic heritage in subtle, creative ways.

Helen Jambunathan is an anthropologist and writer currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She holds a Masters degree from the University of Cambridge, and has over five years of experience researching the specialty coffee industry. Outside of work, she is a die-hard tennis fan, wearer of many rings, and reader of many things.


16 Jul 18
3 min read

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