By Anna Sekula Posted August 31, 2011, 12:45 PM EDT
NEW YORK Despite the arrival of Hurricane Irene over the weekend—which caused the U.S.T.A. to abort Saturday preparations and bring in a crew overnight on Sunday to clean up debris—the U.S. Open tennis tournament started as scheduled on Monday, drawing hundreds to Queens to watch high-ranking players battle it out. But the action wasn't just limited to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, as this year, two major sponsors devised inventive marketing campaigns to engage consumers and boost buzz for the competition.
Mercedes-Benz, now in its second year as the official vehicle of the U.S. Open, opted to create an initiative dubbed the “Tweet Rally,” using its Twitter handle to offer fans of the brand the opportunity to win tickets to the tournament. Every day until September 1, the German automaker is announcing on @MBUSA which of its dealerships in the tristate area will be giving away tickets.
Similarly, the open's official Champagne partner, Moët & Chandon, launched a consumer Facebook competition, but is also looking to build enthusiasm among its staff with the construction of a miniature tennis court in its west Chelsea office.
“We're all very excited about the partnership with the U.S. Open—for me it's a perfect match,” said Ludovic du Plessis, who was installed as vice president of Moët & Chandon U.S.A. earlier this summer. “I wanted to invite everybody to the U.S. Open, but I cannot because we don't have enough tickets. So I thought, 'Let's create our own Moët & Chandon tennis open.'”
To execute the concept, the brand tapped Maximum Impact, which built a scaled-down 16- by 8-foot court compete with a branded net and flooring. The court opened the same day as the U.S. Open and, for the next two weeks, will be the site of an internal competition; the winner will receive two tickets to the final. “It's a tournament for all our employees and key customers, a way to share a moment with them and make everyone understand that Moët & Chandon is the Champagne of success and glamor,” said du Plessis, adding that one of his goals for this year is to highlight the company's heritage and how Champagne has come to be used to celebrate victory. “That is what Moët & Chandon is really about, winning moments, and the U.S. Open is the perfect place to start.”