Scrabble Promo, Case study IT’S YOUR WORD AGAINST OURS! by Ogilvy & Mather USA

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Industry Games
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Ogilvy & Mather USA
Released September 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best use of Broadcast
Advertiser: MATTEL
Broadcast Account Manager: Emma Tills (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Head Of Broadcast/Digital: Ricky Vazquez (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Associate Director Of Broadcast: Lindsey Morgan (Ogilvy Public Relations)
Media placement: Broadcast - - 1 September 2011
Media placement: PR/Media Relations - - 1 September 2011

Summary of the Campaign
The stage was set for the 20th anniversary of the inaugural World Scrabble® Championships in Warsaw, Poland with a record number of participating countries and entrants. Yet interest in watching a Scrabble® match was close to zero, even if it was a milestone competition. To increase awareness of the championship, Mattel enlisted the agency to create and execute a broadcast and video campaign that demonstrated how the veteran board game could be utilized to its full potential in the age of social media and fantasy gaming. Mattel also aimed to increase sales of the Scrabble® board game, which we achieved by an impressive 19% increase over the previous year.

Using our specialist, integrated digital and broadcast experience, we developed creative video content and implemented a multi-lingual media relations campaign to communicate Mattel’s key messages, all on a minimal budget. Our team ensured the World Scrabble® Championships was a major news story targeted to each of the client’s seven key global markets and globally, through pan-regional broadcasters. Top-tier international coverage was achieved, with an ultimate reach of over 244m people. BBC’s flagship morning show, BBC Breakfast, even featured presenters playing the game throughout the entire 3 hour-long programme.

The Situation

Despite its legendary board game status, Scrabble® tournaments generate little interest globally. In the digital age, with competition from interactive gaming, how could the brand funnel the excitement and acumen of a match involving 114 players silently playing Scrabble® in a large room? Additionally, Mattel sought to reach major broadcasters across distinct target markets: Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, India, Malaysia and Singapore, each posing their own cultural and linguistic challenges, all while relying on a limited budget. The campaign required a strong, savvy and creative approach to hold its own against breaking stories at international news stations.

The Goal
Raise awareness of the World Scrabble® Championships globally and specifically across Mattel’s 7 key markets via broadcasts, online video news and lifestyle channels, and measure success through the amount of video coverage secured. Reaching beyond media, the team aimed to increase sales of the Scrabble® board game and boost the link between Scrabble® and the Championship tournament.

The Strategy
The team researched the history of the tournament and players across each market, pulling out key facts, personal interest stories and relevant angles.

Our recommendation was to create 2 pieces of video content which could be used across feature-led media, news and lifestyle programming. One piece was a loosely-edited video package; the other a fully-edited video that could be placed directly online. We devised a detailed programme which captured all the key event moments and ensured that the package was editorially balanced, whilst bringing out key messages. Timely delivery of the pictures was essential, due to the fast-paced nature of newsrooms.

Broadcasters were offered access to Mattel spokespeople and the opportunity to request specific content. We produced pre-event video content, allowing media to promote the event before and during the 4-day tournament, including archive footage to provide visual context of the history of the game.

The first step in executing our media strategy was to identify 15 broadcast news and sports targets and 20 online editorial targets in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore and China. We pitched the championship to key broadcasters and online targets 2 weeks before the event, highlighting the pre-event material and angles specific to each territory.

Our team attended the championship to oversee the filming, editing and distribution of the video news packages. We distributed a news package via satellite 2 hours after the event's closing ceremony that hit every key market in time for early morning news programming. The subsequent edited package for online outlets was made available within 3 hours of the culmination of the tournament.

The team oversaw and co-ordinated live and pre-recorded interviews. Bespoke footage and interviews were captured on request and video content was also made available via electronic distribution.

Documented Results
Results spelled 'success' with a 19% increase in sales the week of the event, and a 12% uplift the following week. Global coverage reached more than 244m people, with an ROI of 137:1.

Coverage stands out due to its duration. Presenters of the BBC’s flagship ‘Breakfast’ programme played Scrabble® throughout the entire 3-hour programme, watched by 2.5m people. A live interview with a Mattel representative and Scrabble®’s Twitter feed accepting word suggestions from the public created a truly interactive experience.

We also secured an hour’s worth of coverage on BBC World’s ‘Impact’ programme, beamed into 240m homes worldwide daily. A former UK Scrabble® champ challenged the presenter in the studio, delivering key messages and bringing the game to life.

Our video content appeared on more than 20 media channels, including CBS, ABC Good Morning America, The Huffington Post, The Sun, The Telegraph and Yahoo!