Björn Borg’s controversial US vs Mexico tennis experience
Any brand that’s willing to push the boundaries and try something new is a winner in our eyes.
And when it comes to achieving success with experiential marketing, a bold and controversial approach can pay dividends when it comes to grabbing consumer attention.
But some risks are, of course, bigger than others. And right now, with the US political climate as it is, any brand looking to weigh into the ongoing US vs Mexico border debate needs to have a lot of guts.
Swedish sports brand Björn Borg recently proved it wasn’t afraid to face controversy head on when it unveiled a new experiential marketing campaign.
The brand created the Borg Open, a tennis match that took place at the Tijuana River on the U.S.-Mexico border: right next to where President Trump is continuing to look to fulfil his pre-election pledge to build a giant wall separating the two neighboring countries.
Given the political sensitivities, the match – between Mexican resident Mariano Argote and California Peter Clemente – posed a sizeable risk to the two participants, of being arrested or even prosecuted.
But after a legal battle for the campaign to even go ahead, the brand ploughed on near to the Mexican border to film a video that got people talking, while shining a spotlight firmly on the brand behind it all.
The ‘Tennis Across Borders’ campaign demonstrated that sport can unify all, even those with political or cultural differences. But it’s not the first time that a brand has got involved with politics; far from it. In the run up to Trump’s surprise victory, airline company JetBlue managed to get its customers to unite for a fun election-themed experiential stunt.
With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.