Ready to brush up on your swing and get a feel for what it’s really like to be a tennis pro? If you’re attending the U.S. Open this year, American Express is giving you the chance to do just that with a game of air tennis.
American Express was named BizBash's Top Innovative Brand, with its Coachella, Panorama, Golden State Warriors, Seattle Seahawks and Platinum Card experiences all cited as examples of the brand's excellence.
To celebrate the second year of its partnership with the Seattle Seahawks and to get the team's fans—also known as 12s—pumped for the upcoming season, American Express hosted a seated dinner for card members on CenturyLink Field's 50-yard line. “Dinner on the 50,” which took place August 27 and was produced by Momentum Worldwide, offered guests a four-course meal inspired by four quarters of a football game. According to an event spokesperson, “a few hundred people” were at the dinner.
American Express will allow fans at next week’s U.S. Open to feel as if they are players walking through the locker room and onto the court in the latest and most advanced activation the event has planned. The four-minute experience is called the “Pro Walk.” The credit card company last year at its 20,000-square-foot AmEx Experience pavilion allowed fans to don VR googles and hit with Maria Sharapova. VR is gone this year, replaced by what AmEx is calling “immersive reality,” and a “mixed media” experience.
"Truth be told, our editors always figured it was inevitable that a brand would end up winning our Grand Ex twice. But in an age of RFIs, RFPs and fickle marketers who seem to change agencies way too often, we figured the odds of a brand and the same agency winning the Grand Ex twice were slim. But after 14 years, they did. You gotta give it up to American Express for its commitment, focus and for staying in the game with the sport of tennis, with the US Open property and with its longtime agency of record Momentum Worldwide."
With more than 150 consecutive sold out games and a season ticket holder waitlist of more than 20,000 fans, the Golden State Warriors aren’t exactly accessible. To help bring cardmembers closer to the NBA team, American Express on April 7 produced the first-ever live stream of a sporting event in the U.S. Showcasing the Warriors’ matchup against the San Antonio Spurs at an IMAX theater in Newark, CA, the brand provided Bay Area fans with a supersized screening experience that brought the game to life—all on a night when the Warriors were shooting to tie the record for 73 wins in a single NBA season.
The American Express partnership with the Seattle Seahawks, which launched in late September with the team’s first home game against the Chicago Bears, is a case study in how to score with retailers, sports fans and consumers. With partnerships in place with pro basketball and hockey teams, as well as its tennis and golf sponsorships, the financial services giant is no newcomer to sports, but the Seahawks is the first NFL team to join the American Express portfolio.
As brands continue to experiment with virtual-reality technologies, the consumer experience has only become more and more active. That's especially great for sports fans who want to experience what it's like to face off against their favorite athletes, and it's exactly what American Express did for this year's U.S. Open.
How hard is it to return a 100 mph serve?
Fans attending the US Open, which begins in two weeks, will get a chance to do exactly that -- off the racket of Maria Sharapova.
As part of a fan experience station on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, American Express commissioned the services of its newest spokesperson, who spent nine hours in a virtual reality studio in California to pull off the promotion.
At this year’s U.S. Open, you don’t need to be a tennis pro to face off against Maria Sharapova on the court.
American Express is partnering with Ms. Sharapova for a virtual reality game that lets U.S. Open fans return the tennis legend’s serves with their own moves, the latest example of a marketer embracing new technologies to create immersive experiences for consumers. The “You Vs. Sharapova” game is just one element of American Express’s broader marketing efforts around the tennis tournament, which the company has sponsored for more than 20 years.