Category Archives: Francesca Schiavone

FRENCH OPEN: Champion Li Na, Nike, 1.3 Billion People. Tennis has Match Made in Heaven

Li Na becomes China's first tennis champ, wins French Open


Just change it, Nike. Change it right now, or add it as a new campaign for Li Na. Li won the French Open Saturday, beating Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) to become the first Chinese tennis player to win a major singles championship. It was thrilling, it was fascinating. Have you finished enjoying the moment, tennis?

Too bad. Time to get to work. You had better have a massive marketing campaign in mind. Li has already invented one, if accidentally by a slight language barrier.

“Just before the start (of the) French Open, I mean, Nike China, they do a T-shirt for me,’’ she said. “They have (in) Chinese, `Be yourself.’ So they asked me, “Is (it) OK to wear this shirt?’ I say, `Of course. Why not?’ They only make the T‑shirt for ‑‑ 30 T‑shirt(s) (for) all of China. I think now they should make more.’’

Oh. My. Are you listening Nike? Are you listening tennis? She has just handed you a masterpiece. Li was likely talking about the Nike Campaign “Make yourself.’’ The company has hired famed photographer Annie Leibovitz to help. And maybe that will be a great campaign. Nike’s usually are.

But how about using her words? Li Na, and “Be Yourself’’ in Chinese. Think: Tennis, much like golf and plenty of other businesses, sees China as the great under-tapped market. It has put tournaments there, but the stands are half empty. Now, China has its first tennis star, a 29-year old who broke from the Chinese tennis federation a few years ago, broke from the state run system, and developed herself. She has a funny personality. She has tattoos. And she can appeal to the young generation, which is trying to break, in some ways, from traditional Chinese culture.

And here comes Li Na and a campaign: “Be yourself.’’ Continue reading