News / Animation

Smith & Foulkes depicts an animated history of tennis for Wimbledon

Directors Smith & Foulkes, together with Nexus Studios and agency McCann, have created an animated journey through the history of tennis titled #TakeOnHistory in celebration of the sporting season coming into full swing.

The animated trailer launched on Sunday (10 June) during the final of the French Open and illustrates a timeline of tennis through various styles, documenting moments from 1877 to present day. “As each new era begins, the illustrative style evolves with it,” explains Nexus, “capturing historic details such as radically changing fashions, pony rollers used to keep the courts in prime condition, TV broadcasts, and even the switch to yellow balls.”

Tasked with the difficult job of merging eight illustration styles, from Victorian lithographs to graphic novels from the 90s, into seamlessly animated cuts, Smith & Foulkes maintained “narrative cohesion” by structuring the animation “around the dynamic energy and flow of a single rally,” the duo explain. “This gave us that alternating left to right experience that is so intrinsic to the sport.”

Rob Doubal, McCann London’s co-president and chief creative officer adds: “We’re really proud of this campaign which perfectly captures how much Wimbledon has changed over the years and gone from strength to strength. The guys at Nexus were incredible at capturing the changing styles, not just of design and fashion, but of the club, the players’ techniques and the atmosphere.”

The campaign sees The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) mark the significance of this year’s Wimbledon tournament, “not least because we are celebrating the 150 year anniversary of the All England Club,” James Ralley, head of marketing and commercial at AELTC points out. “This beautifully crafted film depicts the tireless pursuit of greatness Wimbledon represents, not just for our players and fans but as a global event. History is the benchmark that we judge ourselves by – and we are immensely proud to show the richness of our history through amazingly imaginative illustrations and incredible craftsmanship.”

The Championships at Wimbledon will run from 2-15 July. In the following weeks during the run-up to the tournament the animated short will feature as part of a campaign generating excitement around Wimbledon including iconic details such as the gardens, its ticket resale scheme and the famous queue.

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory

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McCann London, Nexus, Smith & Foulkes: #TakeOnHistory