Brands have become an integral part of not just sports but players as well. Grigor Dimitrov one of the most prominent names in the tennis circuit who is currently ranked fourth in the world, was recently named as the brand ambassador of Häagen-Dazs.
The Drum spoke exclusively to him about why he chose to associate with Häagen-Dazs. He says: "I’ve been a big fan of ice cream for as long as I can remember. And my personal favorite has always been Häagen-Dazs. On tour you have to follow a pretty strict diet, but ice cream has always been my one true indulgence. It is definitely the one food I can’t live without. I often will have a scoop or minicup night and then after a tournament is over then I go for a bigger order!"
Players have become quite conscious of the brands they choose to work with to maintain their reputation and image. As to how he chooses brands to associate with, he says: "I only work with brands I’m genuinely passionate about and that fit my life and my personality. I need to feel really excited about the partnership. With Häagen-Dazs it was a no brainer for me. I don’t think there could possibly be a more organic connection. I love what the Häagen-Dazs brand stands for and it is really a privilege to be part of the General Mills family."
Despite being popular, tennis remains behind football when it comes to brand association. Whether more brands should come forward to support tennis, Dimitrov says: "I believe so. I don’t think there is a sport that is more global than tennis. We compete all over the world for 11 months of the year and compete in a lot of different markets. Last year I competed in 14 countries on five different continents, which is pretty incredible."
Brands are leveraging players popularity both on and off the court especially on social media platforms. As to how much social media influence of the players have increased, he says: "My favorite part about social media is it is a way to communicate directly with my fans. I love being able to show them a bit about my life away from the court. So often tennis fans were only exposed to what happened when we stepped onto the tennis court. However, today tennis fans feel more connected to us and I think that is a good thing. You always have to find a balance with social media too as it can become a distraction."
The Drum also spoke with Arjoon Bose, marketing head, Haagen-Dazs UK & Northern Europe to find out why they chose Dimitrov. He says: "We weren’t looking for a brand ambassador or influencer or even thinking of one in the mid-term. However, when you meet a genuine fan who lives and breathes your brand philosophy and how Haagen-Dazs was that ‘little luxury that uplifts the everyday’, you know you’re onto something special and the chapter might be a pathway for a future conversation.
"It’s often hard to believe an elite athlete with a strict fitness regimen would tuck into ice creams as often as he did but when you hear Grigor talk convincingly that he can only do this because he trains as hard as he does, you know he’s being nothing but authentic. Besides his work ethic on the tour is legendary among the pros."
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