The U. S. Tennis Association has committed $50 million dollars to grassroots programs encouraging everyone to pick up a racket with their “Get Out and Play” campaign that launched with a 30-commercial directed by Thousand Foot Squid’s Norry Niven. The spot began with humorous highlights of boring shelter-in-place hobbies like baking and DIY beauty treatments and ended with the message that now it’s time to get out and play tennis.
Amy Choyne, CMO of USTA, stated, “The campaign takes advantage of the fact that people have been cooped up and they’re hungry for activity. Meanwhile, local communities are opening up, restrictions are lessening, and there’s an opportunity for people to learn or relearn a healthy sport.”
Tennis has the advantage as it is not a team sport and “lets you keep your social distance without being socially distant” according to the spot.
Director, Norry Niven added, “The USTA project came to me with a pretty fast turn around – the timeliness of the message had to hit quickly so we moved rapidly to prep and shoot. The 4-spot campaign is pushing the message that tennis is the perfect sport for social distancing…you’re naturally 20 feet apart from one another.
“Of course, we used the protocols for COVID-19 that we’ve been using for our other work – very thorough on set practices that create a safe working environment. The video village was remote and we live streamed the shoot to New York and clients spread out around the country. Diana Bland produced and we had Kevin Howard remote cast the spots. We staggered out the shoot schedule to make sure we were all safe and cast real family groups when possible. We had great support from T-Bar M Tennis Club and our local crew/family was more than eager to get back out and shoot some fun film, albeit it was more difficult with safety procedures in place.
“USTA was the perfect project for the new Thousand Foot Squid model, where we can “turn-key” projects remotely doing post too – editing/mixing/coloring/graphics all done with our amazingly talented post team – the same team that worked to create GET BACK UP – which is available now – http://www.getbackup.tv.”
The “Get Out and Play” media will include digital, social and radio ads, with TV spots in local markets starting in July. As part of the PR plan, former tennis pros Chris Evert and Patrick McEnroe are appearing on various national talk shows. The next phase of the campaign will premiere later this summer and take advantage of hype around the U.S. Open, which may be held without fans.