The battle for television ratings is fierce the world over…
Usually the networks with the deepest pockets win. They secure and commission the best shows and have the funds to market them extensively.
In NZ there are three big players TVNZ, Mediaworks and Sky TV.
MediaCom's client, MTS is a niche, indigenous channel. It commands a small audience of 169,000 per day compared to its counterparts, which deliver audiences in excess of 1.4 million daily.
The challenge was tough: Secure an audience for an unknown and unproven reality show Game of Bro’s – a Polynesian “Survivor” style show with 12 buff men competing for the title of “Ultimate Warrior”.
The brand insight: Game of Bro's was not only unheard of, it was up against the biggest television event of the year; the highly anticipated Bachelor NZ, season 2.
While this was a huge challenge, the agency also saw it as an opportunity:
The consumer insight was that The Bachelor had a loyal following of reality-show-loving, hot-men-adoring, women; the very audience it wanted!
Being bankrolled by Mediaworks and Warner Brothers, it forecasted that The Bachelor would have a budget 12x greater than Game of Bro's (Source: Nielsen Fusion). There was no way it could out-spend or outshout them, so it decided to steal from them!
It needed a PR-able campaign, something that would deliver greater coverage than it could pay for with a traditional campaign.
So the agency came up with the idea to “Hijack The Bachelor”. It was media guerrilla warfare!
It ambushed their marketing campaign to divert attention and steal eyeballs, placing the client's advertising alongside theirs.
It asked the potential audience: Lover Boy or Lavalava Boys?
It drew a comparison between the singular Bachelor and the 12 Polynesian Warriors, and asked Bachelor lovers to consider watching it instead.
This was a brazen campaign designed to create controversy. It needed to turn $60,000 into $600,000 and could only do that by generating PR.
It had two target audiences to reach and engage:
Primary: Fans of The Bachelor (Females 18-49)
Secondary: The Bachelor’s broadcaster and producers Mediaworks (MW) and Warner Brothers (WB).
To successfully engage these people MediaCom employed a three phase strategy:
ANTICIPATE: Hypothesised about the expected channel mix from The Bachelor across paid, earned and owned.
HIJACK: Contextual targeting on steroids! Utilised ambient and dynamic media, positioning them right next to the Bachelor ads to provoke a reaction from the audience.
CAPITALISE: A comprehensive PR programme was planned to leverage the retaliation it expected to receive from the big networks. It would use this garner public support making it look like the good guys.
Game of Bro's = awesome. The Bachelor = not awesome.
MediaCom delivered this strategy across multiple channels in order to give the campaign a sense of scale. Each channel had a bespoke “ambush” tactic.
Out of home: Game of Bro's mobile billboard parked directly in front of their most premium billboard sites, focusing on those within a 5 kilometer radius of the Mediaworks Auckland office.
Digital: Keyword targeted, banner campaign, appearing next to Bachelor stories on NZ’s biggest news site, The NZ Herald. It delivered 100% share of voice on all Bachelor editorial content.
Search: Paid Google search, bidding against Bachelor NZ terms. They were not running search so it achieved 100% of the bought impressions in the first 3 days.
Print: Full page ads placed immediately after Bachelor editorial content within in the largest tabloid magazine, Women’s Day.
Social: A viral video which achieved half a million views in the first day by documenting the talent hunting down an ousted Bachelorette.
Ambient: Created lei’s (a visual counter to the iconic Rose) which were devices given to media to drive conversation.
The agency ensured that every touchpoint brought consumers back to the Game of Bro's, Maori Television, Thursday at 8.30pm.
Within one hour of launch it received calls from both Mediaworks and Warner Brothers warning it not to continue. By the fourth day it received an official ‘Cease and desist’ order. They played right into their hands!
The agency then launched a PR campaign telling the story of the underdog plight and the heavy hand of the big bad networks.
The “ambushing” strategy was picked up by both local and international media, giving far more coverage than it ever could have paid for.
Achieved $755,460+ in media coverage within seven days!
The ROI was 19:1 and this was essential in helping deliver the most successful launch for Maori Television since 2011.
Kiwi’s rallied behind MTS and Game of Bro’s and this was demonstrated both through social engagement and sentiment but more importantly in the ratings.
It smashed its viewing target!
• +193% YoY increase in average audience in that time zone (vs 50% target)
Other positive results included:
• +91% YoY increase in show reach across linear and digital
• +600% increase in channel share (Females 18-49)
• +50% increase in baseline impressions for Maori Television across broadcast and digital
• 10,000 social engagements
• 86.32% increase in sessions
• 70.34% increase in users of their digital video player
• 10.13% increase in page views
• Majority “positive” sentiment messages in social.
The campaign proved that you can do big things on a small budget, with some clever media thinking.
And of all the indicators of success, the best measure was the recent announcement that Game of Bro's has been renewed for a second season.