The Media Gophers: Silver Gopher

Silver Gopher

Cannes Lions 2014 is done and dusted. The awards have been given out, the champagne has run dry, and the Lions have found new homes on the reception desks of agencies across the globe. This means that it’s time for The Media Gophers 2014. “What, how, and why!” I hear you cry! Well:

What: 8 campaigns have been given Honourable Mentions and can be seen here and here. The Silver Gopher winner is below. 1 campaign will be awarded a Gold Gopher, and the Grand Prix Gopher will be announced on 4th July.

How: This involved trawling through all the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Grand Prix winners from Cannes and singling out campaigns that really strike a chord with their intended audiences.

Why: Cannes has categories and has made judgements that I haven’t always agreed with. This is simply an everything goes version of the Lions from a different perspective.

Here is the winner of the Silver Gopher:


Tui Beer: Catch a Million


What Was Involved?

Tui Beer was the official beer sponsor of New Zealand Cricket and wanted to leverage the value of the investment during the 12 match series. It decided to run a crowd participation event in which cricket-goers were encouraged to catch a six using one hand from their seats in the crowd as the balls flew over the boundaries. In order to win the $100,000 share, the catcher must be wearing a bright orange “Catch a Million” t-shirt that they could purchase from the venue. 10 catchers could win a share of the $1m prize pool. Importantly, alcohol couldn’t be directly advertised on TV until after 8.30pm, so earned media was key.

What’s So Great About It?

This campaign caused a frenzy, and rightly so. It’s a superb example of sponsorship activation that almost managed to eclipse the event that was being sponsored. I think the experiential elements of the campaign and the way in which it encouraged participation was first class and at no point seemed contrived or forced. Cricket fans often dream of catching a ball that’s hit for a six, so adding an incentive of money and fame to such a feat is a way of concentrating all of these emotions and channelling them towards the activity and the brand that is facilitating the dream.

“The sea of orange t-shirts was a media channel in itself.”

The activation made talking about the brand during the broadcast of a game completely unavoidable, even with the 8.30pm advertising restrictions. Stadiums were turned a shade of TUI orange and 1 in 5 adults wore a t-shirt to the game. Nothing was left to chance, and TUI reps briefed the media on the rules of the promotion and encouraged outlets to produce maps of the best places to sit in stadiums to increase their likelihood of having a shot at the $100,000 prize.


Tui Beer Banner 1


The result was an increase in game attendance across the series by 75%. What I find really impressive is the extra activation given to the campaign once the first catch was made. This was an important milestone in the story of the campaign, as seeing one person make a catch would make others realise that the PR stunt was following through on its promises. Tui facilitated interviews with the catcher and seeded videos and photos of the catch on social media. 120m global impressions were achieved by the time the campaign was over and Tui sales and market share reached a 2 year high.

How Could It Change the Industry?

Mass participation in a stadium environment is a tough feat to pull off. An even harder feat is to get the media fully on your side to the point where they are promoting your product with passion and enthusiasm, and not just because they’re obligated to do so. Advertisers can take note of this and how a “seeding” programme can reap benefits prior to the launch of a PR campaign that depends on amplification through media outlets.

“Everybody was watching the crowd instead of the game.”

Would a copycat event work in British cricket grounds? If the advertiser is a good fit, then I could see even higher levels of engagement than what was seen in New Zealand. Similar events in football, rugby and even in music concert environments where mass participation could be encouraged would be a sight to behold.


Who’s Involved: Saatchi & Saatchi Auckland (Advertising Agency 1), Apollonation Auckland (Advertising Agency 2), Spark PHD Auckland (Media Agency).

Cannes Performance: [1 Gold] Gold PR Lion (Other Consumer Goods).


Tui Beer Banner 2

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