With this work, our goal was to promote the importance of the 2016 NFL Playoffs, and in doing so, raise excitement, interest and awareness of the NFL's most exciting time of the year. After a season filled with media speculation around declining interest in the game, we were tasked to stem the tide of this ratings trend. Especially important would be to reach the younger football watching demographic (18-34), the same group who make up an ever-growing generation of cord-cutters focusing attention across multiple devices and entertainment sources, creating new challenges for TV broadcasters every year. We would need eye-catching work that would force them to stop and pay attention, even in mindless scrolling online.
As the media, fans, broadcasters (pretty much everyone) discussed ratings throughout the beginning of the 2016 NFL, opinions and explanations came in all forms. Many people speculated that the game didn't seem as exciting as it used to, whether due to game breaks, star power, or game flow. To counteract these opinions, we dug into the details of the game to remind people how and why the Playoffs, and the end of the Regular Season, are truly sensational. From talking to passionate fans, we know how important big-play moments are. Fans seek out highlight moments and they dominate news cycles on the Monday of every Regular Season week. We needed a way to harness that excitement and project it onto the rest of the game, to get people interested and tuned in all game.
In talking to more casual fans, we discovered that most assume that meaningful moments only show up later in the season. The truth is, important moments early in a team's season can be monumentally important for their Postseason aspirations. Building on that idea, we took a step back to find the turning points for several different Playoff-bound teams – the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs. We took these catalyst moments and stitched together a Butterfly Effect story, showing how a simple play (like a 4-yard run) could lead to softer defense, quarterback pressure, prolific offensive combinations, and ultimately, a Super Bowl run.
Told with quick cuts, animated graphics and a voiceover from rap superstar Kendrick Lamar, these videos ran in broadcast during games, but the true stopping power came in social and digital. By combining NFL-exclusive game footage with thumb-stopping, eye-popping graphics, this work reminded viewers that "There's Playoffs in Every Play."
The work was a smashing success. Online, the videos amassed 24 million impressions and 10 million views in just 4 weeks. In paid media, the campaign saw a view-completion rate 61% higher than the average for all NFL paid videos throughout the season (support on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram). We also saw a significant lift from organic social media, providing an additional 3.69 million views and more than 200,000 engagements.
When tested, 18-34 year olds and NFL Avid fans (a prime Playoff target) were most likely to find the work entertaining, cool and unique. And more than 50% of fans under 24 who saw one of the videos said they would be more likely to watch the NFL – quite the feat for a generation who has completely sworn off television.
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