Introducing “The HAMMER”

For Wilson Sporting Goods


Wilson’s president asked me to Chicago to be head of Mktg. & Adv. I was to be introduced as a consultant before the official announcement. Day one, he briefed me, and cautioned that Wilson had but one major new product that year – a breakthrough in racquet technology – upon which the company’s annual revenue goal was highly dependent. “Be sure the HAMMER intro is BIG!

As luck would have it, my first meeting that day was the agency presenting final advertising for the campaign. Closing dates in tennis magazines were only a few days off, not to mention all the attendant promotion materials that support a major product introduction . Sitting to the side as “consultant” my heart sank when I saw the advertising (below). No excitement. Nothing to give the consumer reason to believe this was a “revolutionary” product that would greatly improve their game.

The HAMMER’s balance was entirely new. Weight had been shifted to the racquet head promising more power and accuracy, but you wouldn’t know from the ads. The weight shift was so dramatic that you could easily pass the racquet to someone handle first, a visual that would immediately resonate with tennis players,  demonstrating this racquet was different!  I was in the awkward position of interrupting the meeting and telling the group what they had already approved would simply not do and why. The agency left to return as quickly as possible with new advertising, which they did (above). I was popular with no one, at least until the new ads ran and The HAMMER’s success was evident.


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