Wilson Sporting Goods co-designed the Pro Staff RF97 racket in close collaboration with living legend Roger Federer. The racket exemplifies the reliability and style that players depend on from Wilson Tennis. But when you create a custom product for one of the most dominant, beloved athletes to ever play the sport of tennis, the packaging can’t be semi-pro.
To commemorate the release of the Pro Staff RF97 and the historic achievements of Roger Federer, Wilson came to Taylor Box to create an unforgettable packaging experience for tennis players and collectors alike.
Two limited edition boxes were made containing Pro Staff RF 97: the Platinum Edition and the VIP Edition. These boxes are twins, both tray in four panel folder-style, practically identical in design. But the intention behind the boxes creates a distinct personality and a uniquely purposed packaging experience for each version.
Play Your Heart Out
Let’s start with a look at the the VIP Edition kit.
This kit was made in conjunction with Wilson’s “Play Your Heart Out” campaign, developed by creative agency Farm League. Included within is a tennis ball-style Bluetooth speaker from hearO, “Play Your Heart Out” vinyl record, an exclusive behind the scenes photobook, and a limited edition Pro Staff RF97 tennis racket.
The centerpiece of the campaign is an unbelievably cool music video starring Roger Federer and renowned producer DJ Money Mark. Set in California’s Indio Desert, the video features Federer doing his thing- whacking fuzzy green balls into oblivion at warp speed. All the while, Money Mark records and mixes the auditory experience live. This box is a distillation of that experience, concentrating the visual and musical identity of the video into the concept of the packaging.
A VIP Packaging Experience
Besides exclusive contents, this box has a gorgeous silkscreen decoration of rugged, sprawling mountains which seem to challenge the viewer with the message “Play Your Heart Out”. The box is wrapped in premium Mano paper from Neenah to provide a backdrop for the breathtaking silkscreen artwork. The mountain range visuals align perfectly 360 degrees around the box even when opening and closing the lid.
Arranging the materials in this box required a bit of packaging finesse. The tennis ball-shaped speaker needed its own accommodations, so a box within a box was developed to ensure that the spherical speaker was protected and remained stationary within the packaging.
As for the print collateral and the exclusive vinyl record, a large pocket was attached to the interior side of the front panel. Made of Solid Bleached Sulfate (SBS) the durable paperboard pocket was an ideal option for keeping print materials secure and separate from the star of the show, the Pro Staff RF97 racket. The autographed racket was supported by its own unique holster – but we’ll get back to that in a minute.
Federer’s Fantastic Feat
The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 VIP kit shows how diverse collateral- from electronics, to music, to sports equipment- can be coherently organized and unified with the support of premium packaging. The intention of its sister piece, Platinum Edition kit, is a little more solemn. Whereas the VIP was meant to pull together an exuberant campaign, the Platinum edition is a true commemorative packaging experience honoring tennis history.
In 2018, Roger Federer became the first Men’s Singles player to cinch 20 Grand Slam titles with his win at the Australian Open. This historic achievement deserved celebration, so Wilson put together a compelling memorabilia showcase.
Just twenty of these kits were made, one to represent each of Fed’s twenty Grand Slam titles. The Platinum Edition kit contained an autographed Platinum RF97 racket embellished with designs signifying each of the twenty titles along with a signed tennis ball used in-game at the 2018 Australian Open. The box also contained gorgeous high-res photos of Roger Federer in action and a certificate of authenticity.
Soft-touch black Nuba paper gives this box a sense of exclusivity. This exceptional cover material from Neenah Paper immediately indicates the quality of the packaging. The coated paper invites hands to explore the surface of the box and experience the smooth texture. Despite being a paper package, this box has the sensibilities of a luxury container that you might find in a woodframe or metallic construction.
Taylored Packaging Design
The most impressive feature of this box (and its twin, the VIP Edition) is the custom insert devised to holster the racket. Taylor Box designed a custom insert composed of a multi-tiered combination of solid black board and charcoal crosslink foam to suspend each RF97 racket perfectly in place. This insert allows the racket to be fully gripped from underneath while still in the box. The layers were wrapped in the same soft-touch Nuba that wraps the exterior of the box and foil stamped with Roger Federer’s signature.
These twin boxes demonstrate the impact of custom packaging. We are able to locate and identify each individual element of the contents with ease. There is an apparent layout at play, a deliberate packaging design to explore.
There are a lot of disparate elements to the contents of these boxes. It’s not just sports equipment packaging, strictly speaking. There are two highly-intentional messages created by each respective packaging experience. The VIP Edition heralds the love of the sport and playing with your full self, supported by novel ways of using tennis as an art form. The Platinum Edition is about preserving a moment in tennis history. Making all of these separate components cohere is the point of good packaging, and we think we’ve succeeded in that regard.