Having determined that the best way to take full advantage of the DUNLOP brand and maximize its business potential would be through concerted efforts that draw upon the full resources and combined strength of the entire Sumitomo Rubber Group, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. made the decision to absorb and merge with Dunlop Sports Co., Ltd. in January of 2018.
As we work to promote the generation of synergy between our Tire Business and Sports Business, our Tennis Business in particular is playing a central role in our ongoing efforts to further enhance the value of the DUNLOP brand so that we may get the most out of this well-established brand.
① Creating a New Brand Message for DUNLOP in Racket Sports
“LOVE THE GAME” is our new global brand message for racket sports, reflecting our vision of DUNLOP as a brand for players who not only play to win, but also genuinely enjoy and love the game itself.
② Release of “DUNLOP CX Series (Powered by SRIXON)”
Until recently, we have sold tennis rackets in Japan under the SRIXON brand and overseas under the DUNLOP brand. However, with the release of “DUNLOP CX Series (Powered by SRIXON)” in December of 2018, we have now brought our entire global lineup together under the DUNLOP brand while still paying homage to our beloved SRIXON brand.
③ The First Japanese Company to Become an Official Sponsor of the Australian Open
Having signed on as an official sponsor of the Australian Open (one of the four famed Grand Slam tournaments at the pinnacle of tennis) from 2019 onward, we created DUNLOP Australian Open as official tournament balls (which are also available for sale to the general public).
④ New Collaboration with IMG Academy
Through the “IMG Academy DUNLOP Junior Program,” the Sumitomo Rubber Group plays an active role in supporting the discovery and cultivation of talented young tennis players. In addition, we have recently established “DUNLOP Innovation Center” at IMG Academy, which we plan to utilize as an R&D base for gathering the latest information about the local market, testing out new products through cooperation with athletes and more.
⑤ Supplying Tennis Balls for the ATP Tour
In 2019, we supplied official tournament balls for 21 major tournaments on the ATP Tour, making our tennis balls the most widely used tournament balls on the ATP Tour that year. We also supplied official tournament balls for other major international men’s tennis tournaments, including one of the ITF Grand Slam tournaments as well as the Davis Cup, meaning that we supplied tennis balls for 23 major men’s tournaments in total in 2019.
Since acquiring the global rights to the DUNLOP brand, we have made various investments in the field of tennis with the aim of enhancing the overall value of our brand.
Moving forward, we will take full advantage of these investments as we expand our efforts to enhance brand value through synergy among our business divisions. Our first foray into brand synergy across business segments came in 2018, when Kevin Anderson, a star tennis player (he was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2018) with whom we have a sponsorship agreement, appeared in advertisements for DUNLOP branded premium comfort tires. Through this kind of “DUNLOP Collaboration Advertising” and other crossover promotions that bring together our Tennis Business and our Tire Business, we are actively promoting sales of DUNLOP tires by taking advantage of the pull effect of our presence in the field of tennis.
The Sumitomo Rubber Group is committed to ongoing efforts to further enhance the value of the DUNLOP brand through concerted efforts across all of our business divisions.