American Express Creates High-Tech Tennis Artistry
The art of integrating technology into a live experience is one of making it integral to the experience, and for the US Open Tennis Championship, American Express did just that. Through the integration of seamless technological innovations, the brand brought each fan’s passion for the sport to life in vibrant color. Game. Set. Match.
This activation tapped into modern consumers’ need for technology by acknowledging the “invisible technology” trend, or, using tech in such a way that it is not an add-on, but rather an instinctive part of an experience.
In 2013, American Express celebrated its 20th anniversary as a sponsor of the US Open Tennis Championship, so the brand set out to up its game and simultaneously establish itself in consumers’ minds as a technology player with the Art and Sound of Tennis inside the American Express Fan Experience. The strategy connected with attendees’ passion for the sport by giving them a personalized and deeply participatory opportunity to make something beautiful and shareable. The brand invited cardholders and non-cardholders to pick up a tennis racket, step into a tennis bay and show off their swings. Every forehand and backhand was digitally translated into a work of art. The brand supplied guests with rackets that had embedded chips to measure the speed, direction and velocity of each person’s swing. A custom bit of software took the information from the sensors and analyzed it. Those results became brush strokes that combined to create an illustration, shown on the LED screen in the activation area. It wasn’t all about the visuals, either. Audio was played and also responded to the swings, increasing volume for faster swings. Every two to three minutes, a new consumer stepped inside to give it a try. When they were done, the brand digitally captured each participant’s work of art and emailed it to them to share with their friends and family on their personal social platforms.
More than 14,000 Tennis Open attendees visited the American Express experience and participated in the Art & Sound of Tennis activation. They weren’t afraid to share their creations, either. In fact, Amex showed a 600 percent increase in social media engagement over the previous year.