Ads We Like: US Open gives a history lesson as it prepares for finals showdown

As the US Open rides through the exciting semi-finals in preparation for the finals this weekend, a campaign for the US Tennis Association (USTA) reminds people of the history and the glory of the New York tournament over the last 50 years.

Mcgarrybowen's ‘Built For Glory’ 50th Anniversary campaign is a celebration of all the things that have built the US Open into one of the top tournaments in the world. From the globe’s greatest players and fans to the world-class improvements to the stadiums and grounds. From the excitement and emotion on the court to the electric atmosphere fans experience off of it, all are featured in three short films.

The campaign evolves around the “builders of glory” – from Arthur Ashe to Billie Jean King – all the greats who paved the way in making the sporting event what it is today.

The launch spot features the historical rise of Ashe against the backdrop of dramatic change and civil unrest in this country that ultimately ushered in a new era of equality in sports and that was the foundation for the US Open. The poetic voiceover tells the story of how an amateur, Ashe, won the championship and how he became a symbol of change in a year – 1969 – that was full of change. It shows how the US National Championship transformed into the tournament we know today as the US Open.

Stated Nicole Kankam, managing director, USTA: “We wanted to really celebrate our story past over the last 50 years and to celebrate a new vision for the future and showcase how all the enhancements we’ve been making to transform the grounds will culminate this year.”

A 50th Anniversary video features a voiceover by Alec Baldwin, giving a brief history but also highlighting the current state of the tournament, giving props to the “fans and the future, challengers and champions” while cutting between clips of young kids playing tennis and recent winners like Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal.

Another spot voiced by Baldwin features Billie Jean King discussing how she partnered with the association to become the first grand slam to offer equal prize money to men and women. The former champion tells her tale of fighting for equality while giving thanks to the organizers for agreeing to go along with the change, proving why the massive tennis center is now named in her honor.

Other spots in the series feature the chefs and the massive food experience at the US Open, while another shows the architects – father and son Gino and Matt Rossetti, who were responsible for designing the original and redesigned Arthur Ashe Stadiums.

Mcgarrybowen Chicago group creative director, Lee Remias, added: “This campaign is about celebrating all that has gone into building the US Open into the premiere sporting and entertainment event that it is today. Along with helping to sell tickets, this year’s work is meant to emotionally connect with our fans even more, especially since it’s the 50th anniversary of the event. And though we do take a look back, 'Built for Glory' is also about looking forward to the future and expresses how the first 50 years of the US Open is just the beginning.”

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.