London-based MATTA is the creative force behind the ATP’s new brand and global marketing campaign, ‘Love it all’. The appointment represents a milestone for the young agency, which has twice been shortlisted at the BT Sport Industry Awards and is continuing to grow in both profile and numbers. We spoke to strategy and brand director Matt Hunt to find out more.
What do you expect to be the impact of this appointment on MATTA as a young agency?
It’s been sensational. It creates a real platform for us as an agency and cements our position as an expert in sport communications and branding. It gives us a foundation to continue to grow with confidence.
From a hiring point of view, we’ve put in another 25% resource into the agency over the last six months. We’ve been working with the ATP for just over a year now. We started the campaign work back in November last year, and the brand work picked up from June, so it’s been a steady build.
Was there a key insight that inspired the work?
It really came out of the raw numbers. The ATP Tour has a following of one billion people, but the Grand Slams have a following of 2.8 billion. There’s such a big gap there and the product is the same. So it’s really about building awareness that the same great product people experience for two weeks at Wimbledon is also available locally and throughout the rest of the year. It’s using those Slams as the gateway to broaden the sport’s appeal. Because fundamentally, they’re the same competitions with the same players. If you enjoy Wimbledon, why wouldn’t you enjoy Indian Wells or Rome or Monte Carlo, which are all equally glamorous locations for the sport? That was the entry point.
The other fascinating thing for us is how, in tennis, people don’t follow the players based on nationality alone, but on the qualities that people admire. Whether it’s the rebellious Kyrgios type or the iconic legends such as Rafa and Roger, or the indomitable will of a Wawrinka or the tenacity of a Murray….
So it was how can you tap into all that and make those personal characteristics stand out. You’ll see there’s a real player narrative that comes through in a lot of the executions and the copy as well.
Were there other global sports properties that you looked at as references?
We did that, of course, as part of the discovery process. A lot of the American sports follow the formulaic approach in terms of how they represent themselves at a federation level.
The key insight with the ATP logo came out of some research we did in the UK: Among people who are interested in tennis, one third didn’t know what sport “ATP” represented. So creating that real integrated association of tennis with the ATP was key. With letters, if you don’t know what they mean, you don’t take time to decode them and they become forgettable. So putting the tennis icon at the heart of those letters just instantly decodes it. It’s the reason this was the only route that we actually suggested during the pitch, because we were so sold on it in development. It was actually quite a long shot in that sense but one that we had a lot of conviction in, and fortunately the client did too.
How is the ATP unique as a client?
They have a huge passion and energy for what they do. They’re really keen to evolve the sport and be at the vanguard of its evolution. And there‘s a freshness and ambition to grow its appeal, which is infectious. It’s something we’re thriving off as an agency. There’s a real excitement for the sport which is shared. Put it this way: there’s no going through the motions with the ATP!
Finally, then, this high-profile appointment puts MATTA in a global marketplace. Where do you go from here?
We actually work with a number of global governing bodies, including the ICC, for example. The next area we’re looking at is to do more work with brands in sport, including on the activation side. And we’re also doing some work in the Middle East at the moment in partnership with a company called Duplay. We’re thinking of putting a couple of desks into their space in Dubai.
Our strategy is just to be the best sports agency we can. We’re driven by a real love of what we do, which is key to our culture. In over three years, we’ve worked with 20 clients and grown a team that will soon be 24 people. And in three years we haven’t really lost a client, and we haven’t really lost an employee.