Echoing the All Blacks’ heroics over the weekend, New Zealand’s Brandspank has walked away with a respectable bit of recognition at this week’s Australasian PROMAX awards.
Heading off stiff competition from Australia’s big television networks and creative agencies, Sky Television’s ‘All Blacks Skills’ campaign was awarded gold in two of the marquee categories, ‘Best Integrated Marketing Campaign’ and ‘Best Themed Marketing Campaign’.
“It’s been a big year for us so it’s nice to get the recognition,” said Brandspank’s Kurt Bradley. “It’s a good thing we love our footy. There’s been a fair bit of it this year with the Rugby World Cup adding to our usual rugby output.”
Promax is an annual conference and awards event held in Sydney, awarding the best broadcast creative, branding and design for the Australasian region.
Sky had planned a strategic early All Blacks alignment message 12 months ahead of Rugby World Cup and Brandspank was invited to bring some low-cost treatments to the table.
The ‘All Blacks Skills’ campaign showed mind boggling feats performed by All Blacks Piri Weepu, Cory Jane and Rene Ranger while at training. It went viral in New Zealand and was picked up by competitor networks’ prime time news bulletins.
From there it quickly spread globally, at one point ranking as the seventh most watched YouTube clip in the world along with postings in hundreds of blogs and international media outlets. The NBR ranked Sky’s ‘All Blacks Skills’ campaign as the best locally produced viral campaign of 2010.
“It was a pretty amazing few days there when ‘Skills’ was first launched. We’d seen Federer, Ronaldo, the NFL and a bunch of others do clips so we thought it would be fun to do one with our boys – but in our way," Bradley said.
"We were confident there was an appetite for it, but to watch it climb in views so quickly was amazing, especially as we had zero budget for seeding and ad placement, so it was all totally genuine and organic.”
Following the phenomenal success of the first viral message, Sky asked Brandspank for a follow-up which became known as the ‘All Blacks Skills – Summer Edition’. Brandspank’s Steve Thomson remembers feeling the pressure of a repeat performance.
“With the first clip being such a hit, it was a huge ask to produce something that didn’t disappoint. We had to make sure we brought something different to the audience second time around.”
The ‘Summer Edition’ campaign took the All Blacks away from the training field and saw them tossing watermelons and snatching snarlers out of the air like ninjas. Off the back of this, rugby fans were invited to show the All Blacks what they could do by producing their own video.
“We had to be clever with the competition; there was zero budget so no chance of a complex digital build to host the comp online and manage video content. But we really wanted to make it happen so our strategy was to partner with YouTube to create a dedicated branded Sky Sport ‘All Blacks Skills’ channel and to drive interested parties to this channel.
"It worked a treat – YouTube are the experts at managing the complexities of video online. We’d be stupid to try and recreate that – and besides, it was free,” said Thomson.
Sky Television’s Chaz Savage said any win over the Aussies was a good one – "but being personally involved in one makes it that much more satisfying.”
“The Brandspank guys did a great job, putting the All Blacks and their management at ease from the get go, which meant the guys were relaxed, and that came through in the finished product."
Brandspank is now a regular contributor to Sky Sport brand and marketing communications and was also responsible for the on-air look of the Rugby World Cup 2011 host broadcast package, including the opening sequence, music and match graphics package.
This story originally appeared on StopPress.