So, it’s that time of year again. Yesterday was the opening day of Wimbledon, Roger Federer steam-rollered his way to his normal 3-0 win and, with last year’s champion Rafael Nadal not fit, it looks like he’ll probably win his sixth title (Andy Murray permitting) and a record-breaking 15th Grand Slam.
But what of the women’s game? The story of the opening day (at least from a Brit’s point of view) had to be the emerging talent of 15 year old Laura Robson, who won the first set and pushed Daniela Hantuchova very hard before eventually succumbing by two sets to one. But there seems to be something else dominating the media as this year’s women’s tournament gets under way. It’s all about grunting.
And I have to say, having endured no more than ten minutes of the Maria Sharapova v Viktoriya Kutuzova match before feeling compelled to turn over, I’m inclined to agree with those journalists and columnists saying that the noise on court from some female players is getting out of control. Portuguese teenager Michelle Larcher De Brito grunts at an incredible 109 decibels. To put that in context, a rock concert can reach 115db and aural pain begins at 125 db. De Brito has stated that the noise is an integral part of her game, implying that it demonstrates the effort she puts into every shot. John McEnroe’s response? “Pur-lease…”
All this started me thinking (which is never a good thing). What if PR agencies employed the same tactics when we pitch our hard thought-out strategies to clients? “Today we’d like to talk to you about – UGH! – how we can leverage your brand personality with the media to – AGH! – deliver exceptional return on investment. We’ve worked – AARRGH! – really hard on this!” Maybe our clients would more appreciate the sheer effort we put in? Maybe, at this time of year especially, it would strike a chord? Maybe I’ll suggest it to our MD? Or maybe I need a holiday…