Marketing Moments 2012: Andy Murray loses Wimbledon but wins over the nation

It was a sporting defeat, rather than his Olympic gold, that sealed Andy Murray's place in consumers' hearts in 2012, writes Nicola Kemp

As the first Wimbledon men's singles final in 74 years to feature a British player, it was agonising to watch. Andy Murray pushed Roger Federer all the way, bringing the crowd to its feet with the force of his determination, courage and commitment.

It ultimately proved a tear-inducing defeat for the Scot, who has been criticised in the past for being unemotional. While he lost the match, however, it was a different story off the court. This was a marketing triumph; his emotional integrity won him an admiring and sympathetic press. When he went on to clinch an Olympic gold and triumph at the US Open, it provided British consumers with a storybook ending.

For the sports-sponsorship industry, Murray’s triumph provided particular cause for celebration, for it was RBS that sponsored the unknown tennis prodigy a decade ago, providing him with the financial springboard so vital to success.

For brands, the message of Murray's noble Wimbledon defeat is clear; winning at all costs comes second to wearing your heart on your sleeve, expressing passion in everything you do and showing emotional intelligence. The infamous British ‘stiff upper lip’ is finally past its sell-by date.

The Upshot 

What does this era of emotional intelligence mean for brands? 

  •  The end of winning at all costs 

British consumers, battered by the recession, have lost their trust in traditional institutions. This trend could spill over into how they interact with brands and businesses. As the reaction to Murray's heroic attempt to become Wimbledon champion shows, if you play fair and with honour, you will win in the long term.

  • Emotional honesty 

Ultra-transparency is now paramount, so the rules of business have changed irrevocably. As Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told Harvard Business School earlier this year, it's OK to cry at work. 'I don't believe we have a professional self from Mondays to Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time,' she said. 'That kind of division probably never worked, but in today's world, with a real voice and authentic voice, it makes even less sense.'

  • Grass-roots resurgence

The recession and the emotional fallout from it has proved difficult for consumers, and provides a compelling reason for brands to challenge the status quo. Consumers will respect brands that support the community, and grass-roots involvement will be vital to sports sponsorship in 2013. Courageous brand marketers will help support the next Andy Murray as they have the conviction to support those starting out. Sporting superstars are no longer the be-all and end-all; jumpers for goalposts is where the smart money lies.

Was Andy Murray's defeat your marketing moment of the year? Let us know @nickykc @MarketingUK

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer