Sportsbet approached us with a plan to bring the banter back to The Ashes. The challenge was to cook up a social campaign to drive mass engagement in a crowded category. The campaign needed to activate and engage Sportsbet’s social media following across Facebook and Twitter, attract new fans to the brand and reflect Sportsbet’s brand values of fun, fast and fair.
To achieve 60,000+ Tweets and a trending hashtag we had to hit the Poms where it hurts. And that’s what we did. Literally!
Pommel - a real life, sledge powered pitching machine that pommeled balls at a 2 metre high cricket box shaped piñata emblazoned with the St Georges Cross. The sledge that caused the ball to break the piñata won a cash prize of $10,000.
We gave Australians the chance to sledge the Brits from the comfort of their couch. Via Facebook, Twitter and a campaign microsite, we encouraged Aussie adults to channel their inner Merv or Lillee and contribute a sledge against the English cricket team.
We built that outlet by hooking up a pair of bowling machines to Twitter and Facebook, which, when Fans registered a sledge using #pommel – fired an actual, real life cricket ball at our Pommy cricket box piñata. Built in a controlled environment, two ball machines on a robotic swinging arm pitched balls at the pinata in sequence.
We understood that not everyone had the ability to dish out sledges like Merv. For those who struggled, we built a custom made Pommel Sledge Generator on the microsite. Our Sledgenator contained 20 “verbs” and 100 insults, allowing for up to 2000 unique sledges.
To ensure the campaign was fair and fast, we needed to embrace some pretty sophisticated tech, split second timing and a lot of careful tracking, every ball fired broke an infrared laser, attributing a ball to a user, instantly updating the microsite queue and the ‘current bowler’ on the live stream.
The bowling machines fired pommels in 7.5 second intervals. There were two HD cameras filming the pinata during each pommeling session. Live streaming also took part on Periscope. With fans having the option to view on the live stream on the mobile responsive microsite, or socially via Periscope.
The campaign launched during game three of the State of Origin and sledges started rolling in, each one funnier, weirder or more ridiculous than the next - the Pom’s even threw a few back our way. At its peak during the campaign, we were receiving up to 1000 sledges per hour.