They’re back!

Those bouncing eyes have returned for an encore performance, York’s award-winning Tennis Eyes commercial spot will continue to entertain tennis fans for another year. The 30-second television advertisement and the accompanying print ad highlights York’s involvement in the 2004 ATP Tennis Masters Men’s Tournament on now at the new Rexall Centre located on the Keele campus.

Simple and innovative, the Tennis Eyes campaign uses a very effective animated graphic modeled on the word “tennis”. The double “n” in tennis is re-jigged into a pair of eyes which are glued to a tennis ball as it is volleyed back and forth across a tennis court. The humorous voice-over and call out with added sound effects complete the spot. The advertisements play up York’s involvement in everything “tennis”, which is important as this year marks not only the opening of the Rexall Centre, but also the involvement of 46 of the top 50 men’s tennis players in the world who have chosen to come to York’s Keele campus to compete in the tournament.

“The advertisement plays into the audience’s love for tennis and leverages the positive association of York with the event,” explains Richard Fisher, chief communications officer at York. “Like all good ads, simpler is better. The ad has such a short run that it has to be effective. With sponsorships, the key is to get a transferral of equity, other universities might have shown scenes from the campus or pictures of buildings resulting in a click-over by the viewer. Not us, this ad, with its simplicity and humour, is very effective at highlighting York’s involvement with tennis.”

“The ad has been adapted for the men’s tournament and mentions the new stadium,” explains  Fisher. “Subtle changes include a call out to the new Rexall Centre and we use a male voice because it highlights the men’s tournament. There is a slight technical modification that makes the York logo larger.”

Left: The new Rexall Centre at York University

“The campaign goes into the event program and will be played on TSN [The Sports Network] for the duration of the tournament,” said Fisher. “The marquee, booth, printed materials and clothing all carry the look.”

This year, students from York is U! sporting York Tennis Eyes t-shirts and sun visors are greeting guests, staffing the retail booth and distributing freebies including subway buttons and stickers, York’s award-winning magazine YorkU and a brochure containing quick facts about the University.

Big names and tough breaks

The draw for this year’s event is huge, 46 out of the 50 top men’s tennis players in the world, have signed on to compete in the event at the Rexall Centre, including Roger Federer who is ranked number one in the world. Heartbreaker Andre Agassi (No. 10) and fan favourite, Andy Roddick (No. 2) will also be competing for the $2.5-million prize.

Left: Roger Federer

Putting in an appearance this year are Guillermo Coria (No. 3), Carlos Moya (No. 4) and Tim Heniman (No.5). A fan favourite, seventh-seed Juan Carlos Ferrero, was an early casualty on the first day of play, succumbing to a back injury.

Right: Andre Agassi

The weekend, qualifying matches were not kind to Canadians playing as wild cards, all of whom lost out.  The four Canadian wildcards – Dejan Cvetkovic, Andrew Piotrowski, Philip Gubenco and Sanjin Sadovich – who were trying to qualify Saturday at the Tennis Masters Canada were beaten in the first round of the qualifying event.

Oakville’s Piotrowski, 19, was the first Canadian to have the honour of playing a match on the new stadium court. But after 67 minutes his tournament dream ended when he was defeated by the fourth-seeded qualifier, France’s Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-1. Despite, the loss to the more experienced Benneteau, Piotrowski was delighted to have christened the stadium court. “It was awesome,” he said. “There’s a lot of room out there but the sound is great and you can really hear the crowd. I was really happy to have the chance to play on this big stage.”

Playing in his third consecutive qualifying at the Tennis Masters Canada qualifying, Montreal’s Cvetkovic lost to No. 16 seeded Julien Jeanpierre of France 6-0, 7-5. Born in Yugoslavia, the 19-year-old Cvetkovic is a five-time National junior champion.

The 22-year-old Gubenco from Longueuil, Quebec played well but lost to No. 13 seed Todd Reid of Australia 6-3, 6-4. The 22-year-old Gubenco is a Davis Cup team member, seven-time national champion and was a wildcard entry in the main draw at the Tennis Masters Canada in 1999.
North Vancouver’s Sadovich, 21, fought back in the second set to stretch the No. 3 seeded Cyril Saulnier of France, but Saulnier prevailed 6-3, 7-5. “That was tough”, said Sadovich. “I was a little up and down today and it took me a while to get my serve going. But it was great experience.”

For play-by-play action, visit the Tennis Canada Masters Web site. For more about York’s award-winning Tennis Eyes advertisement, click here.

Photographs and results coverage courtesy of Tennis Canada.