Venus and Serena Williams: From the Tennis Courts to Madison Ave

Earlier today, Venus Williams defeated British hopeful Johanna Konta in the semi-finals of Wimbledon in two sets, 6-4, 6-2. Konta was hoping to become the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade in 1977. Unfortunately for Konta, Venus was at the top of her game, overpowering the Brit in an hour and 15 minutes. 

Venus Williams, 37, along with younger sister Serena, 35, are both considered the two of the best women’s tennis players of all time. Venus has won seven Grand Slam singles titles to her name, with the opportunity to add an eighth this weekend at the finals against Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain. It will be Venus’ second Grand Slam final this year. Earlier this year, Venus lost in the finals to sister Serena at the Australia Open, which marked Serena’s 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

Serena, despite not playing at Wimbledon this time around, is still in the news. Serena and fiance Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder, are expecting their first child this fall. She graces the cover of Vanity Fair’s August 2017 – the accompanying article tells the tale of Serena and Alexis’ love story.

Back in the late 1990s, Venus and Serena took the professional tennis world by storm, changing the game forever. Their power and athleticism overwhelmed other players, forcing other players to play up to their level. Their charisma and enthusiasm have jumpstarted the sport and increased its popularity.

The sisters’ star power easily translated into advertising. Marketers often booked Serena and Venus as a pair, leveraging their status not as one super athlete, but two. In 2001, Wrigley signed Venus and Serena Williams to re-energize the Doublemint brand, a play on their traditionally twin-themed ads.

In 2013, Apple released a spot with the sisters, promoting their new Do Not Disturb feature on the iPhone 5. In the spot, Jeff Daniels, who provides the voiceover, dreams of winning a ping pong game against Venus and Serena and not getting woken up by a phone call.

Of course, the Serena and Venus are both individuals, and likewise, they’ve also had their individual endorsement and promotional deals. In 2013, Nike signed Serena Williams in a five year contract, reportedly worth $40 million. Last year, ahead of the US Open,  Nike ran a spot that paid homage to her journey to the top.

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