IBM Promo, Case study US OPEN COURTCONNECT by Ogilvy & Mather New York

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Industry IT Solutions & Professional Networks
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Ogilvy & Mather New York
Associate Creative Director Niels West
Art Director Uni Son
Producer Lauren Dobkin
Released August 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Social Media
Advertiser: IBM
Product/Service: IBM
Chief Creative Officer (NA): Steve Simpson (Ogilvy)
World-Wide Executive Creative Director (IBM): Susan Westre (Ogilvy)
Creative Directors: Seth Rementer/Greg Gerstner/Eric Wegerbauer (Ogilvy)
Associate Creative Director: Niels West (Ogilvy)
Art Director: Uni Son (Ogilvy)
Executive Digital Producers: Pierre Wendling/Tracy Moore (Ogilvy)
Producer: Lauren Dobkin (Ogilvy)
Associate Producer: Anna Santiago (Ogilvy)
Senior Director/Digital Strategy: Priya Varadachary (Ogilvy)
Digital Strategist: Stas Levitt (Ogilvy)
Technical Lead: Ian Crowley (Ogilvy)
Digital Production Company: (Blender Box)
Media placement: Microsite - - August 2011
Media placement: Twitter - - August 2011

Summary of the Campaign
While plenty of fans tweet about tennis, few have anything particularly insightful to say: for example: @cyrusthavirus: “We go play u like tennis, you can't do nadal. South south blood sooooo hot, we'll give a Jonah tan”.

IBM saw this as an opportunity:

First, to underscore its involvement with the US Open Tennis. It’s not just a long time sponsor of the event: it provide the technological infrastructure the tournament needs to function.

Second, to demonstrate the capabilities of its analytics technologies to parse vast flows of social media information in real-time. Helping companies make sense of the unstructured ‘big data’ of our hyper-connected world is a huge priority. Talking about this is one thing: proving it in action, quite another.

Third, to provide value to tennis fans – and their followers - by providing useful information about the game they follow.

We thus created CourtConnect, a social media stream to make any conversation about tennis smarter. It works by recognising, aggregating and replying to tweets and posts about specific players, matches or tennis in general, attaching an insightful statistic or predictive fact to each. These tweets then join thousands other US Open tweets and posts from fans, sports writers, players and celebrities to create a continuous stream of smarter social media and editorial content.

In essence this activity automated, individualized and atomized the traditional PR press-release, providing a personalised response to every tweeter, delivering individual insight at industrial scale.

The Situation
IBM has a long-term involvement with the US Open: as a key sponsor, the technology provider behind the scenes, and as an important sales event for it to entertain and engage with clients. This year we wanted to extend this involvement into social media.

18m+ people tune in to US Open on TV; 700,000 fans attend matches in person at Flushing Meadows. Most fans have a smartphone; many actively tweet and post about their favourite players and games. This online experience harnessed, augmented and most importantly branded the conversations that were already taking place in social media.

The Goal
Our goal was simple: reach as many tennis fans as possible, and demonstrate IBM’s analytics, smarts and tennis credentials by providing them useful and insightful information.

The Strategy
We started by examining the quality of tennis tweeting: It left something to be desired. We then worked with IBM to build the real-time technology that powered the CourtConnect idea.

CourtConnect ran as intended for the 2 weeks of the US Open Tennis tournament in early September 2011 on Twitter and hosted on the site that we design and build with IBM each year. Fans were led to it via exposure in the website and via messaging at the event.

Documented Results
IBM CourtConnect successfully identified and augmented over 100,000 tweets (with an estimated 2.7m followers) in the 2-week run of the tournament.

The US Open is an exceptionally important corporate hospitality and sales event for IBM; this technology, alongside the Jeopardy!-winning Watson, was a very important and interesting presentation tool for its salesforce to show their clients at the event.

Overall it was a highly successful display of IBM’s applied analytics and social computing expertise.