- Sweetgreen today (Aug. 30) launched a campaign in New York City to celebrate its partnership with Naomi Osaka, per details emailed to Marketing Dive. The campaign is timed to the start of the US Open, which takes place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 12 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.
- Along with out-of-home (OOH) creative across the city orchestrated by MilkMoney, the brand will be stationed at Union Square Plaza to give away limited-edition merchandise signed by the tennis star, along with the green tea she helped create with the brand.
- Sweetgreen has continued to support Osaka, even as its first national athlete ambassador briefly stepped back from competition over concerns about mental health. She competed at the Tokyo Olympics and is set to return to the US Open, where she won the Women's Singles championship in 2020.
Sweetgreen's latest campaign demonstrates its continued support and utilization of brand ambassador Naomi Osaka, as the health-conscious chain shares campaign messages including "Eat like a pro," "Icons eat their greens" and — in a double entendre about the US Open's location — "Queens get their greens." The OOH and experiential elements in New York City come as consumers continue to return to pre-pandemic activities, even as the delta variant upends some plans for a fuller return to normal this fall. It also arrives as Sweetgreen is reportedly planning an initial public offering of stock.
Osaka made headlines this summer when she withdrew from the French Open, a move she made soon after Sweetgreen introduced a new brand identity and launched a campaign featuring the tennis star. Osaka has remained at the center of Sweetgreen's marketing efforts despite the controversy around her decision to abstain from press conferences due to concerns around her mental health.
Osaka, who returned to the court at the Tokyo Olympics, has said that she has suffered from bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018. The athlete's openness around her mental health struggles has been in line with Sweetgreen's brand identity, which stresses a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on mind and body. The chain, which was valued at $1.8 billion earlier this year, has been able to adjust to the fast-moving situation with agility as it relies on an in-house agency model with a wide remit around marketing.
While Sweetgreen's US Open campaign is focused on wellness, it is also timed to an event where other causes — including diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) — are expected to take center stage. The United States Tennis Association's "Be Open" campaign, which launched last year with a focus on social injustice, will expand this year to focus on homelessness, mental health, diversity, gender equity and LGBTQ expression, per Adweek.
At last year's event, Osaka wore seven masks that featured the names of Black people who were victims of police brutality and other racist violence, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin.