'Vienna's Got Balls' Marketing Grabs Attention

(ATR) The Beach Volleyball World Championship slogan ‘Vienna’s Got Balls’ is an eye-catcher in the Red Bull Arena.

(ATR) Fans can’t miss the LED display featuring the Beach Volleyball World Championship slogan ‘Vienna’s Got Balls’ in the Red Bull Arena.

Jaws drop, fans laugh and others just shake their heads. Funny, edgy, controversial, all of the above?

Perhaps not at all surprising for an Olympic sport that prizes itself on having fun, innovates its sport presentation and frequently pushes the limit as is the case here at these championships – the first ever staged in the Austrian capital.

The provocative marketing catch phrase was created by the Vienna Tourist Board.

"The idea was to have an activating, on-point message with an eye wink." Nikolaus Graeser, Vienna Tourist Board communications director tells Around the Rings.

"Knowing that the city and its inhabitants are excellent at hosting big events the core message behind the slogan is: Vienna is a city which dares. Vienna is further a city with a decent sense of humor. Not always as serious as it seems on the first sight," he said.

Brazilian Evandro Goncalves, 27, the tour’s most powerful server, gives a big thumbs-up to the slogan.

"I like the slogan because you need them, it takes balls to get back in a tough game," Goncalves said, after a hard-fought victory over Canada. "We want to prove that we have them in the semifinals and gold medal game also."

The 2015 world championship bronze medalist added: "Volleyball is a family sport, but it’s for the guys out there also."

Vienna, regarded as the ‘City of Music,’ is also the last great capital of the 19th Century Ball, home to more than 450 festive musical balls held in its beautiful palaces per year.

The head turning digital advertisement continues with the words ‘Let’s Waltz, Let’s Play, Let’s Dance, Let’s Party.’

Graesar said that let’s waltz refers to the Viennese Ball Culture, let’s play refers to playing beach volleyball and let’s party refers to the great atmosphere in the stadium and city of Vienna.

Then, of course there are the 200 official blue, white and gold volleyballs being used at the ten-day tournament.

Upon further review, it seems the catchy slogan could have three, possibly even four meanings.

However, one high-ranking tournament official, who refused to be named, said the slogan is disrespectful.

Marketing strategist Michael Payne praises Vienna for the clever catch phrase.

"It certainly shows a new edgy fun image of Vienna - able to make fun of themselves and not be seen as too stiff Austrians," Payne tells ATR.

"[The] event tries to create a new dimension in genuine fan engagement – better than any sport I know."

Graeser said ‘Vienna’s Got Balls’ was approved by the local organizing committee and that thus far there has only been positive feedback.

Isabel Delueg, one of tournament staff beach girls, who presents balls and poses for photos with winning players following matches, said she is not offended by the phrase.

"I like it very much because it is very funny and when you translate it to German it also means I’m tough, I’m brave, so it’s a very good slogan," she said.

To top it all off, singing the Austrian national anthem before the women’s final on Saturday was the controversial, cross-dressing, Austrian pop star and Eurovision Song Contest winner, Conchita Wurst.

Yet another ballsy move by tournament organizers.

Written by Brian Pinelli in Vienna.

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