A competition to celebrate Wimbledon puts into sharp relief what needs to be done to make an impact.
Walking around Wimbledon Village just ahead of the men’s final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, a little under two miles away, one thing was obvious: doing the obvious doesn’t really work.
For Wimbledon fortnight the retailers in the very upscale retail enclave that is Wimbledon Village have an annual competition that aims to celebrate the local tennis fest.
From Topps Tiles to posh deli Bayley & Sage, this means tennis balls – lots of them, in a variety of sizes. These are lime green in colour and are arranged in a wide range of patterns in the shop windows, which are then judged by a panel.
“Quite fun, at first. But after you’re seen a few examples, a certain ennui sets in. It’s a bit like watching the big hitters slugging it out from the baseline: initially impressive, but then dull and repetitive”
Quite fun, at first. But after you’re seen a few examples, a certain ennui sets in. It’s a bit like watching the big hitters slugging it out from the baseline: initially impressive, but then dull and repetitive.
Full marks therefore for taking part, and perhaps a six out of ten for finding different ways to use tennis balls and the occasional racket or two. But really, so what?
There was an eyebrow-raiser, however. Tucked away along a street that leads towards Wimbledon Common there is Pet Pavilion.
As the name suggests, this is an indie pet shop, and it has won the tennis window competition for the past two years straight.
Why? Probably because it realises that there is more to Wimbledon than a load of balls, no matter how artfully they are placed behind glass.
This year, the store commissioned a series of cartoon portraits of Wimbledon champs, past and present, male and female.
Each of these has been framed and then the individual’s name has been played with to make it something to do with either a cat or a dog.
The outcome means Novak Dogovich, Steffi Grrrrrraf and Andy Purray, among others. This may sound a mite trite, but it was raising a smile and a smartphone camera from almost every passer-by.
What was clear was that considerable thought had been given to this display and that the starting point had not been another tennis ball iteration.
All of which perhaps shows that if you want to make an impact, it’s fine to take part in a movement, but do not follow the herd. This applies as much to selling computers or garden tools as it does to being one of a number marking a major event.
It’s all gone now, but worth making the trip for in 2018.