So we have seen Attitude in football. We’ve seen it in Tennis. We have seen the UFC’s attitude trump the WWE’s. We understand that Attitude is the future of sport, if you want to bring a new generation in each time – you can talk all you like about something being ‘The Beautiful Game’, but that isn’t going to really matter unless my eight year old also believes it’s ‘The Cool Game’.
Which has left ping pong with a bit of an image problem for a few years now. There’s the name – hard to take seriously; there’s the lack of serious kit (where’s the wind-tunnel-enhanced-sharkskin-and-graphite body armour?); there is the apparent personality void; there’s the lack of any innovation (where’s the equivalent of Twenty20?); there’s the complete lack of a PR function.
Which raises an interesting question then, in Marketing Schools: how would you market Ping Pong to a new generation?
A Japanese player has the answer. This is Naomi Yotsumoto.
She left college with the ambition to change the world view that ‘table tennis is stupid’. A key part is her range of costumes, which she designs herself, they include hot pink off-the-shoulder numbers like the above, or something with a little more range, like this.
Can she play? Well, she is currently 150th in the world, at the age of 31. So she is not troubling the world’s top ten, then, most of whom are Chinese, and are clothed more traditionally:
And she made us notice her even if we weren’t looking for her. Almost a like a lighthouse, then.