NEON SURF STUNT by District Agency, Liquid Ideas for Strongbow

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NEON SURF STUNT

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Industry Beers and Ciders, Alcohol-free beer and Ciders
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Australia
Agency District Agency
Director David Strong
Producer Carly Heard
Agency Liquid Ideas
Released December 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Live Events and/or Stunts
Advertiser: STRONGBOW
Product/Service: CIDER
Agency: DISTRICT AGENCY
Agency: LIQUID IDEAS
Director: David Strong (District Agency)
Technical Director/Production Designer: Kent Johnston (District Agency)
Producer: Carly Heard (District Agency)
Senior Account Manager: Allira Carrol (Liquid Ideas)
Account Executive: Lucy Curtin (Liquid Ideas)
Account Director: Charmaine Glase (Liquid Ideas)
Managing Director: Stuart Gregor (Liquid Ideas)
Executive Producer: Josh Cilento (Miller Cilento Entertainment)
Media placement: Influencer engagement - Campaign - 14 October - 15 December 2011
Media placement: Digital PR - Countdown to start of summer - Everguide.com.au Twitter - 14 October - 30 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - media alert about event - mxSydney, dailytelegraph.com.au, Bondi FM, Everguide.com.au - 29 November 2011
Media placement: Digital PR - Facebook page set up - mxSydney - 29 November 2011
Media placement: Event neon stunt - FuleTV, Seven News etc. - 30 November 2011
Media placement: Event Influencer party - thevine.com.au, pedestrian.com.ay, ninetofive.com.au - 30 November 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - media outreach about campaign - Daily telegraph, Dailytelegraph.com.au, Nine News, Ten News, Fuel TV etc. - 1 December 2011
Media placement: Digital PR - content seeding on YouTube - Dailymail.co.uk, theguardian.co.uk,BBC Europe, CBS News, CNNGo etc - 1 December 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Strongbow is a 40-year-old cider brand that was suffering from serious competition from new brands in an exploding cider market. Strongbow sought to create a PR stunt to increase sales and to mark the start of summer - the key cider season in Australia. The stunt needed to be contemporary, social, lively, optimistic and it needed to capture the attention of the media.

We all know that in Australia summer is about the beach. Australians love the beach and they love to surf, so how could we take a whole new angle on surfing to mark the start of summer?

The idea: A Strongbow neon-surfing stunt at Bondi beach on summer’s eve with 20 local surfers, to celebrate the start of summer.

We created custom-made branded neon-suits and surfboards, went surfing on the eve of summer at Bondi beach, and threw a big media-party overlooking the stunt where we had fireworks, got legendary surf film maker Jack McCoy to film it, focussed on mass-media exposure, got the film online within 24 hours and made it so good it went global within the day.

The results were impressive:

* 434,000+ YouTube views, with 414 comments and 1,669 favourites;
* 32,500,000 readership/viewership and counting;
* 2nd-most-viewed YouTube in Australia (December 1-10, 2011);
*185 media clips across the globe;
* Strongbow sales increased AUS$2.86m (YOY = 10.8% increase).

The Situation
Strongbow has been Australia’s number-one cider brand for 40 years, long distributed by the nation’s premier beer business, Foster’s. Traditionally cider in Australia was a tiny category, representing less than 1% of alcohol-sales, and Strongbow had 50%+ of the market-share with little or no promotion. In 2010/11, for reasons as diverse as a taxation change, international trends and consumer-taste evolution, the cider category began to explode, and craft ciders and international brands came at Strongbow from every angle. Strongbow was out of touch and uncool. Strongbow was losing its market-share.

The Goal
The business objective was simple: make a cider brand that had been around for 40+ years relevant to the 24-35-year-olds (secondary target was 18-24); re-ignite Strongbow’s brand equity measures; get sales back into growth; be active at the start of summer; and disrupt the cider scene with something unexpected from Strongbow and something that would mark it out as the leader.

The directive: Change the consumer’s perception of the brand from placid, sombre, English/Irish, traditional/suburban to summer, contemporary, social, lively, optimistic, Australian, urban.

Ultimately the goal was to develop a PR stunt/event idea that would gather media attention and deliver on the goals.

The Strategy
The insight: If you want to mark the start of summer in Australia you have to 'own' the beach. We needed a unique idea that was fun, included both sexes, and focused on Australia’s playful love-affair with the beach.

So, what if we what if we took a new angle on surfing?

What if we created a Strongbow neon-surfing stunt at Bondi beach on Summer’s Eve to celebrate the start of Summer?

So that’s what we did!

To make sure everybody knew about it we threw a big party overlooking the stunt and added fireworks for good measure.

To help build credibility, we engaged legendary surfing cinematographers, Jack McCoy, Eugene Tan and Bali Strickland, to create the content.

To make sure the world knew about it we got the film online within 24-hours and made it so good it went global within a day.

Execution

We custom-made the neon wetsuits and surfboards in our workshop.
We negotiated the use of Australia’s most iconic beach Bondi.
We used Bondi locals (both girls and boys) to ensure credibility; some of them already had a media profile.
We organised a party for key influencers, overlooking Bondi beach in order to watch the stunt.
The media outreach to key influencers from the surfing and online media began around three weeks before the event.

We created on Twitter #strongbowsummer and a Facebook page to start the conversation early.
We placed a story in Sydney’s Metro daily, the day before Summer’s Eve.
Through social-media and print coverage, we drew a crowd of hundreds on the beach.
Got the surfers in the water, shot the film, edited the footage and seeded the content to 200,000 target consumers and 700 influencers across media, entertainment and lifestyle.

Documented Results
The campaign-activity generated 185 media clips, including media coverage on every major free-to-air news bulletin in Sydney, national coverage online, and major metropolitan newspaper coverage.
This resulted in 32.5m in readership/viewership, international coverage on CNN, Dailymail.co.uk, BBC Worldwide, guardian.co.uk, Fuji TV (Japan), New York Daily News and more, and 434,000+ views on YouTube with 414 comments.
It was the 2nd-most-viewed YouTube video in Australia during its first week online.
Over summer 2011/12, the number of Strongbow drinkers grew by 131%, 72% faster than the growth of the total cider category.
Compared with the same period the previous year, Strongbow experienced a 7.6% increase in volume sales and a 10.3% uplift in value sales (December-January 2010/2011 compared to December-January 2011/2012) Strongbow reported an increase of $1.92 million in value sales.
Strongbow reported an increase of AUS$2.86m in value sales, which equates to an increase of 33,800 cases.