Stella Artois is rolling out a new campaign, ‘Perfect Flight’, leveraging its Wimbledon partnership by blending advertising and experiences that revolve around the All England Club’s very own ‘Rufus the Hawk’.
The official beer and cider of The All England Tennis and Croquet Club’s tournament has launched a new TV spot to spearhead a campaign that celebrates the bird’s role as ‘Wimbledon’s Guardian of Perfection’.
Rufus, who’s role is to patrol Wimbledon skies to prevent pigeons interrupting the tennis and it is his tournament perspective that forms the campaign’s creative heart.
Led by a virtual reality ‘hawks-eye view’ virtual reality TV spot,
and an alternative ‘Fly like Rufus’, consumer-controllable 360 degree YouTube video version that also offers the very best views of Wimbledon.
The film experience works by opening the video in a smartphone’s YouTube app (Stella has created an official app in the iTunes store and on Google Play), but it works most effectively through virtual reality headsets and it is Google Cardboard compatible.
Stella Artois is giving away free headsets on its UK Twitter account and throughout the whole Wimbledon fortnight the beer brand is giving away Google Cardboard devices across the country – from those in the queue at Wimbledon, to travellers at Waterloo Station and in more than 750 bars throughout the UK.
There is an online experience hosted on a dedicated microsite at www.theperfectflight.com
Tennis fans and London commuters can also experience Rufus’ perspective of flying over Wimbledon in person through a ‘Fly Like Rufus’ flight simulator pop-up at Waterloo Station (an activation strand also accompanied with outdoor billboard executions).
Another unique Rufus experience will see fans invited to the No 32 The Old Town bar in Clapham (North London) to enjoy a beer in the world’s first hawk-protected beer garden – as Rufus will be monitoring the skies above the pub.
Other off-site initiatives that see Stella Artois attempt to recreate ‘the perfection of Wimbledon’ away from the courts by bringing slices of the iconic tournament’s setting to other locations throughout London.
The brand is also launching a limited-edition Wimbledon chalice (featuring The Championships logo) to commemorate the partnership.
Not only can the chalice be purchased online for £15, but they are being given away, along with tournament tickets, other Championships merchandise and tennis equipment at off-site each location throughout the Wimbledon Fortnight.
The brand is also running an on-pack activation strand with a parallel Wimbledon competition.
On-site at the All England Club itself, Stella Artois has provided 80,000 branded chalices to all Wimbledon bars,
Rufus is also a Twitter star and is part of a partnership that sees Stella Artois link up with Twitter to serve exclusive Wimbledon videos to fans on Twitter.
The beer brand is using Twitter in a real-time push to amplify its exclusive tennis content throughout the tournament.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2015
By targeting exclusive snippets of video content to those people discussing the tournament on Twitter Stella hope to boost engagement and awareness of its Wimbledon sponsorship.
The clips will largely focus on behind-the-scenes, non-match content that few fans ever see – from staff at work, to the racquet stringer and the trophy engraver (who also featured in last year’s Stella Wimbledon short films).
The content, which is sent from the official Wimbledon Twitter account, features a short pre-roll video by Stella Artois.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2015
‘We have been marking our role as official beer of The Championships with a variety of activities which gets tennis and beer fans alike actively involved in the tennis fever which hits the UK each year for Wimbledon,’ says AB Inbev’s director of consumer connections Phil Pick.
‘As a part of this, we are thrilled to bring enhanced content to our social media fans through the Twitter Amplify partnership; giving them an additional opportunity to get caught up in the spirit of the tournament.’
Rufus certainly has one of the best views of all the Wimbledon action – and he doesn’t even have to fork out for £2,667 for a men’s singles centre court seat either – and it is a neat fit for a sponsor to align itself with an unusual element/strand of a property that no other official partners are activating around.
The ad itself shares some technical similarities with Nike’s recent Neymar ‘Hypervenom II’ virtual reality ‘See What They See’ marketing thread (which is fast approaching 10 million YouTube views in its first week),
using the iPhone’s accelerometer to enable viewers to see a 360-degree view of Wimbledon and its surroundings.
(Although it is slightly disappointing that the courts are largely empty while the footage was shot).
By choosing a bird rather than an inanimate property aspect, it helps bring the campaign to alive in a real, living way that certainly stands out from the crowded Wimbledon landscape.
The fact that the campaign is activated off-site and brings the experience outside the ivy clad walls is a sensible strategy for sponsoring any property that, like Wimbledon, can be hard to get a ticket to and it opens up a property that some see as elitist.
The real-time Twitter tactic typically works well for sponsors as they achieve association with events as they happen and engage when people are at their most passionate and often at their most receptive to content that enhances their experience.
For Stella Artois, its Wimbledon partnership is part of its umbrella strategy to reposition its brand and move away from its previous reputation into a more premium space.
A so called ‘mutual desire for un-paralleled perfection and beauty’ is what brings Stella together with the four partnerships cornerstones that sit at the heart of this project: Festival de Cannes, Wimbledon, Open Championship, and Abierto Argentino de Polo.
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