Wilson : Launch of the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph racket

February 11, 2015
Roger Federer´s new Pro Staff RF97 Autograph racket and its two lighter versions have hit the tennis market like a rocket. The marketing campaign has generated more than three million video views, 400 000 visits to web pages and strong sales right from the start. 

“Marketing is all about telling stories, and the Pro Staff had rich material for us to tell a story around”, says Nick Gonzales, Global Marketing Director, Racquet Sports.

The launch of Roger Federer´s new Pro Staff RF97 Autograph racket indeed had all the ingredients of a modern fairytale. There was the greatest tennis player of all times, his drive to become even better, a mysterious matte black prototype racket and the longest public playing test of all times.

“All this generated a lot of talk among tennis fans. Everybody was asking what that black racket was. It was a great content to work with from a story telling perspective”, Gonzales points out.

High engagement in social media

Wilson´s focus was to leverage the part that was already happening and build the campaign around it.

“When Roger pulled the racket out of the bag for the first time or when he made it to the finals, we were active in social media and talked about those moments in real time.”

The social media activities were supported by ads in paid media.

Roger Federer and his new racket immediately received huge attention.

“It was achieved because we had a unique and compelling story about the athlete and the product really collaborating to create something authentic.”

The results of the campaign were phenomenal.

­“The engagement in this campaign was very high. We achieved more than 400,000 visits to our web pages and more than three million video views. People were willing to spend time on our web site, viewing videos and reading about racket specs. That´s a great result.”

Dealers fully on board 

The marketing campaign attracted also the attention of the dealers.

"Dealer reactions have been outstanding. They have been fully on board ever since the introduction of this process and the new racket. They are excited to get something so new and fresh within the industry”, says Cory Springer, Global Commercial Director, Wilson Hardgoods and Racquet.
“One of our dealers said that he has not seen this kind of level of excitement and buzz around a tennis product that´s tied to a professional athlete since the days of Andre Agassi!”
The best part was yet to come.

Pre-orders skyrocketed

“We allowed our e-commerce dealers to begin pre-selling before the racket was even available to ship. They were stunned about the number of pre-orders they got in just three weeks.”
The actual shipping started in mid-September.


“Through the first three weeks after the launch we sold more rackets than any of our previous launches since 2012 had sold in three months. The demand outnumbered supply virtually in all markets. Together with our sourcing team we took extraordinary measures to keep up with the demand. It was the best possible problem you can have.”

Three hot new rackets

In the United States, the three new Pro Staff rackets were on places one, two and five on the list of hot new rackets in October and November 2014. October also marked the first time in several years that Wilson grabbed the #1 market share spot in the US. The company ended December with six out of the top 10 hot new rackets bearing the Wilson name.

“The sales of the three models are almost identical. Our long time expectation is that the lighter versions will gain the biggest volumes. They allow the fans of Roger Federer to use a racket that has the same DNA and innovation as the Autograph model, but is easier to play.”

Momentum for Wilson

Springer says the new Pro Staff rackets are important for the overall success of Wilson tennis and racket sports.

“The Pro Staff Family really energizes the brand. It allows us to gain momentum in 2015. We have the opportunity to accelerate our growth and position around the world.”

“It was very rare to see all the dynamics come together behind one product. This doesn´t happen too often. We had a really good, organic story and we worked closely together to bring this story to life in the markets.”

“Now we are thrilled to see that the results are living up to our expectations.”


Source Amer Sports ©

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