Remember Maria Sharapova's "I Feel Pretty" commercial for Nike? The Charlie's Angels theme of the new Sony Ericsson campaign might seem to reinforce what irked her in that spot — being valued for her looks instead of her talent.
The tennis player, as Sony Ericsson's brand ambassador, is helping promote its new reality-style web series following six attractive young female players (aka "the Hot Shots") on the 2011 WTA tour. They'll upload photos and videos onto Facebook, YouTube and their individual Twitter feeds to give a behind-the-scenes glimpse at life on the WTA circuit for a mini-Maria.
It's all a bid to promote Sony Ericsson's Android-enabled Xperia smartphone to young women and sports fans — a natural brand association, as Sony Ericsson is a long time supporter of the Women's Tennis Association.
Sony Ericsson VP of global marketing partnerships Stephan Croix said at the Miami kick-off, "Xperia Hot Shots is an exciting and innovative web TV show that will bring added entertainment to women's tennis. It provides fans with the chance to get closer to WTA players and celebrities, see them take part in unusual challenges and amazing stunts, all of which they can watch on their Xperia smartphones. We'll be providing fans with a great show throughout the course of the year, with a mix of tennis and entertainment that only Sony Ericsson can provide."
That's all well and good, but we hope the series is better than the trailer above, which is a bit — well — cheesy. First of all, it's a popularity contest — the player deemed the fan favorite in September, based on social media growth through September (Facebook likes and Twitter followers), will win 100,000 euros.
And while giving them exposure, it won't offer that much access (or likely be that interesting). As one tennis blogger quipped, "I want catfights, boy dramaz and locker room beef" from the Hotshots web series. But as the tweet's hashtag acknowledges, #notgonnahappen.
Even at the US kick-off event in Miami, the press wasn't as interested in the pretty young unknowns as they were in Sharapova's new engagement ring.