Like other big sports events, the U.S. Open is a magnet for brands, prompting a fair share of promotional efforts and events from companies looking to align their image with the tennis tournament and its famous players. For longtime sponsor Evian, this year's activation was about trying to find a new but organic way to stand out from the crowd and promote its “live young” marketing campaign. On Thursday, August 30, the bottled water brand hosted its first Instawalk, a program that invited three New York Instagram users to tour the grounds of the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and get a backstage peek at the event.
“In celebrating 27 years of Evian being the official water of the U.S. Open, the brand wanted to deliver value to fans with an innovative new medium. We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to see the U.S. Open through the Evian 'live young' lens, even people that could not be in Flushing Meadows,” said Evian brand manager Aurelie Patterson, adding that Evian looked for the most-followed users who also fit the “live young” image. “This concept leverages the brand's long-standing partnership with the U.S.T.A. alongside influential Instagrammers to deliver compelling content in a truly organic matter.”
Produced by MKG, the outing led Brian DiFeo, Liz Eswein, and Anthony Danielle (otherwise known as BriDif, NewYorkCity, and TakinYerPhoto, respectively, on the photo-sharing platform) around the center in Queens for the day. This included stops at the Wilson racquet stringing area, one of the private interview rooms, a tunnel lined with posters from past U.S. Opens, the ball-persons' lounge, and one of the photo dugouts.
With DiFeo, Eswein, and Danielle given direct access to Evian's Instagram account, the dedicated #EvianDay hashtag, and an on-site producer to monitor and respond to the activity on the brand's social feeds, the effort saw Evian snag hundreds more followers on Instagram (the account now has more than 1,000 fans). The U.S.T.A. also put some of the Instagram shots up on the Jumbotrons during the matches and promoted the effort in the draw sheet.
“We were pleased with the results, and we look forward to building off this activation at future Evian-sponsored or proprietary events,” said Patterson, adding that the Instawalk had an estimated reach of more than 4.3 million impressions.