Melbourne Cup. Televised to more than 700 million people in over 120 countries around the world, it’s one of the globe’s most prestigious horse races. In host country, Australia, it’s “the race that stops a nation”. Well, except bookmakers. It’s their busiest and most profitable day of the year. It’s also the most competitive; the Australian wagering market has seen a mass influx of online bookmakers. All fighting tooth and nail, to acquire new customers with a plethora of sign up offers and incentives.
The reality was, TAB, was getting lost. And its wasn’t the only one. With little differentiation between any of the competitors – all spouting identical offers and deals – each bookmaker was becoming one and the same. Behaviour in media accentuated this; competitors investing millions of media dollars to shout the loudest. About the same thing.
It was time to stop talking at people. Instead, OMD's challenge was to give people a reason to talk about the brand. The objective was to dominate the share of voice (SOV) of people talking about TAB vs competitors across the Melbourne Cup period, and, as a result, drive an uplift in online betting with TAB.
Consumer insight was key. The reality was for punters, the mass media onslaught and barrage of convoluted offers were a turn off. They couldn’t distinguish one brand from the other, and advertising was just compounding this rather than making it simpler. The target were turning to their own networks and social channels to get the answers they needed.
Research told TAB that Twitter was its go to; a real time feed of advice from people they trusted. This was where punters knew they would get the latest tips and hints on the race; only natural given the platform’s massive affiliation with sport. This was where TAB was going to stand out.
Introducing the Twitter Cup. A real time social aggregation tool that ranked the Melbourne Cup race field based on the number of mentions each horse received on Twitter. The more mentions, the further along the virtual racecourse the graphic version of the horse appeared. Users could see what was being said about the horses, check out their odds and go on to place a bet right there on the mobile enabled microsite. A super relevant and genuinely useful tool for the punter, but it needed a smart way to get people engaged with it.
Firstly TAB wanted to dominate the lead up buzz and conversation around Melbourne Cup. Following a social audit, it reached out to key racing influencers that they’d identified with a bespoke message, driving them to the Twitter Cup website. A hyper engaged audience – reaching over 150,000 people in earned media alone. This was complimented with a #TwitterCup competition encouraging engagement and appeal from a mass audience, one that TAB would never usually resonate with.
Cost efficient, highly editorially relevant, rich media buys across a number of key blogs and sites captured the interest of those punters looking to get tips and insights on the race in the days prior. But it was Melbourne Cup day that it had to focus its efforts. A real time social media lab was established, conducting live social listening, and as influential people were talking about a specific horse, the brand produced and sent them a bespoke infographic about the horse detailing their latest form, odds, silks and where they stood in the Twitter Cup.
This was all supported with real time bidding optimisation across Facebook, Twitter and Search. This was social gold for users, and they were quick to re-tweet or thank TAB for the content it had sent them. Kudos that none of TAB's competitors were getting with their scattergun odds and market updates.
The objective was to dominate the share of voice (SOV) of people talking about TAB vs competitors across the Melbourne Cup period, and, as a result, drive an uplift in online betting with TAB. The results speak for themselves. Not only did the Twitter Cup tool correctly predict Fiorente as the actual Melbourne Cup race winner, it allowed TAB to own social conversation across the period.
TAB reached 1.7 million in social across the Melbourne Cup and organically trended on Twitter at the peak (233 Tweets per minute) of buzz; an exact correlation with the peak number of bets placed. Delivering the same reach as an $80,000 State of Origin final 30’ TVC spot – but infinitely more engaging.
And while competitors were throwing dollars at acquisitions across mass media, TAB was discussed more across the Melbourne Cup than all of the competitors put together, with a massive 65% Share of Voice. In fact there was an 18% uplift in online betting with TAB across the period. A simple result of staying true and honest to content that people want to engage with in social media.