How Luxury Watch Brands Create Timeless Tennis Collabs

We’ve seen a sharp rise in luxury brands collaborating in the sports space, from F1 partnerships to Sotheby’s hosting their first series of auctions dedicated to sports collectibles. Tennis represents a significant segment of this cultural movement, particularly for prestigious watch brands. While these collabs aren’t necessarily new, we are seeing marcomms pros leverage them in creative ways alongside players, as we’ve learned from the experts below. 

Cameron Norrie x Rado

“The Swiss watch industry had another impressive year in 2023, with sales totaling an all-time record of CHF 26.7 billion*. It clearly remains a lucrative market and business opportunity, but the recent trend of tennis players investing in watch manufacturers has been particularly interesting to observe, and there are perhaps deeper reasons for their interest in the space than first meets the eye,” says Merrick Haydon, executive VP and partner at global sports marketing agency rEvolution UK

He continues, “tennis players now operate across such a global tour, travelling for the majority of the year to all four corners of the world. From a business perspective, this provides them with a unique opportunity to use their profile to help open new markets for younger, up-and-coming brands seeking to establish themselves in new territories, and looking to grow quickly and build brand awareness.” 

Linda Nosková x Rado

Swatch Group’s Rado has long worked with tennis tournaments and pros, and is doubling down on their partnerships with unique timepieces and special launches. “Rado has sponsored tennis for more than three decades and is proud to support the brightest names in the sport who inspire audiences every time they step on court,” says the brand. “Rado has also collaborated with the brand’s tennis ambassadors to create tennis-inspired timepieces, such as the Captain Cook x Cameron Norrie Limited Edition. This year, a new watch will be launched during the Mubadala Citi DC Open, for which Rado is the official timekeeper.” 

Lacoste, a longtime player in the tennis space as well, just launched their new “Play Big” campaign, featuring a global cast of brand ambassadors spanning celebs, fashion and sports names – including global tennis star Novak Djokovic. 

Photography by Willy Vanderperre

These collaborations represent a wider trend across sports, fashion, luxury and marketing that we’ve seen on courts, red carpets and beyond. “In recent years, we have seen a broader fashion revolution taking effect in tennis. We’re increasingly seeing bigger and bolder fashion statements from players – from Jannik Sinner’s controversial Gucci bag at Wimbledon last year despite the tournament’s famously rigid rules, to Holger Rune’s Ikea holdall at the 2021 US Open – which are indicative of a new generation of young players looking to make a name for themselves and differentiate themselves from the ‘Old Guard’ era,’” says Haydon. 

The partnership between luxury watch brands and tennis exemplifies a thriving intersection of sports and luxury that marcomms pros are seeing as a big opportunity today. These collaborations that are not merely about brand visibility but also about leveraging the global reach and influence of players to open new markets and create unique, culturally resonant products – bolstering the prestige and allure of both the luxury watch industry and the world of tennis.

Cannes Lions 2024: What Marcomms Pros Are Most Excited About

As the Cannes Lions festival approaches, many marcomms pros are packing up and heading out to network, support clients, host activations and more. Read on to learn what a few industry leaders are most looking forward to, why they are attending, and what their clients are up to in Cannes this year. 

Cannes Lions 2023

Josh Rosenberg, CEO, Day One Agency

“I’m looking forward to soaking up inspiration and insights from the parade of international brands and speakers. I’m especially interested in hearing more on creators, AI, and Gen Z this year, but always excited for the mix of creativity, sunshine, and connecting with peers who are fueling the cultural conversation right now. Most of all, I’m eager to bring valuable learnings and fresh perspectives back to our team and clients.”  

Susan Magrino, Chairman & CEO, MAGRINO PR

"I am so excited to return to Cannes Lions - it is the ‘50-yard line’ of creativity, competition, inspiration, and endless networking. It is unsurpassed in this environment. I know I will emerge with new ideas and perspectives. And most of all this community is filled with the best communicators who have ever lived! I am looking forward to seeing lots of friends and living the Riviera lifestyle with a glass or two of Whispering Angel—in the heart of Provence.”

Chanel Cathey, Founder & CEO, CJC Insights, LLC

"Cannes is one of the year’s most anticipated and overprogrammed weeks for conversations and networking across advertising, marketing, media, tech, and creative communications. As a PR agency founder, it’s an unparalleled opportunity for networking and a chance to immerse myself in listening to what brands are experiencing, excited about, and challenged by. This year, I am particularly excited for the in-depth discussions on AI's impact on creativity and the shifting focus on DEI. It’s a chance to be inspired, forge new partnerships, and gain fresh perspectives to drive our agency forward. Admittedly, I’m also looking forward to all of the vibrant fringe events, immersive experiences, and brand activations along the Croissette. You can't possibly make it to everything, so I plan to hydrate, see friends, meet people, and make memories."

Brian Feit, Founding Partner, BMF 

"Cannes Lions is a whirlwind but the best place and time in the world to make the most valuable marketing connections while having some fun! It’s also like a music festival with dozens of top artists performing throughout town across the events.  BMF is particularly excited about three events we are producing: The Female Quotient Equity Lounge, A live podcast with the Marriott CEO and Jose Andres, and finally TelevisaUnivision’s party with Diplo. Make sure you figure out who is going and get on all the right RSVP lists! And don’t drink too much rosé!"

Gregory Galant, Co-Founder & CEO, Muck Rack

“Cannes is increasingly becoming a must-attend event for top PR professionals as the relationship between marketing and comms becomes more critical to a business’ reputation and ultimately, its revenue."

And don't miss: 

WPP's Exploring the New Frontiers of Innovation ft. Elon Musk

Elon Musk, Chief Technology Officer of X, will speak at WPP's Cannes Lions seminar titled ‘Exploring the New Frontiers of Innovation.’ WPP CEO Mark Read, CEO of WPP will interview Musk across topics such as the transformative power of technological innovation, how AI is reshaping creativity, business and society, and the future of X. 

Muck Rack x Ragan Headquarters (HQ)

Muck Rack is partnering with Ragan to deliver premium content and host exclusive meetings with communications industry leaders at Cannes. Muck Rack x Ragan Headquarters (HQ) will be centrally located across from the Palais des Festivals, offering indoor and outdoor meeting space with ocean views to host private meetings, conduct PR Daily interviews as Ragan expands their coverage to Cannes for the first time and offer a chance for attendees to meet CEOs and other executives from Muck Rack and Ragan. Ragan and Muck Rack will also host an exclusive roundtable discussion with PR and communications executives at the HQ.

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