October 19, 2021

Best of Footy 2021

The best footy campaigns of 2021 revealed

Another season of match schedule disruptions and fan-less stadiums concluded with another year of record breaking TV audiences for Australians watching the AFL and NRL.  

The innovation and creativity we’ve seen from rights holders is a true silver lining in a very challenging period. They’ve stepped up and found ingenious ways to engage supporters and make them feel connected, to their team, club, and one another. Particularly lucky given that just as 2020 thought it had exhausted fan engagement innovation, 2021 said “hold my beer …”

As Campaignware was doing its own platform evolution (from Benchvote), our partners across Australian sport were finding new ways to use our platform to interact with their fans and activate sponsors.

As the country approaches new milestones and the advent of our southern hemisphere summer season, we’ve put together a showcase of campaigns that - in our view - reflect the ingenuity of Australians throughout 2020 and 2021. These rights holders have pushed the boundaries of digital content and audience engagement.

Read on for our collated list of the best campaigns from 2021, in no particular order - and let us know which was your favourite?

Network Seven x Coles/OMD - AFL Finals Fans Vote

For the first time on the Seven Network, footy fans were able to vote for their Most Valuable Player (MVP) from each match in real-time.

The Seven Network activated eight MVP votes throughout the AFL FInals Series, in partnership with Coles Supermarkets (and their agency OMD).

The MVP vote was embedded in 7plus, with traffic driven through broadcast and commentary integration.

Tens of thousands of footy fans engaged in this fan-first, second-screen campaign at a time when 60% of the Australian population was in lockdown. The second screen is a vital battleground for sport broadcasters, striving to capture the eyeballs of the estimated 90% of audience that has a mobile or tablet on-hand as they enjoy the game.

The Melbourne Demons won the AFL finals, but the Seven Network won second screen! This is a superb example of delivering branded content that increases and enriches the fan experience.  Top work from the Seven team!

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Geelong Cats x Whiskas/Mars - Cats v Dogs vote

Possibly one of the most innovative sponsor-led campaigns of the year!

Hats off to the Geelong Cats and Western Bulldogs for collaborating to bring this unique campaign idea to life, and  well played by their respective partners #Whiskas and #Pedigree. The promotion kicked off ahead of their blockbuster derby game on Friday night, and ran through the weekend.

The TVC and paid media driving traffic to the campaign used iconic Australian humour, which is what made Cats v Dogs such a winner. The campaign was built on Campaignware’s Head2Head template, and leveraged Campaignware’s customisable lead generation fields to capture insightful data for the brands.  

Fans came out in their thousands to show their love for this campaign, demonstrating their appreciation for the Geelong Cats and Western Bulldogs aligning and bringing it to life!

This piece of content had everything you want; fan rivalry, happy sponsors, humour, high engagement … and a good old fashioned feline v canine debate!  

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Melbourne Storm x Castore - Member Jersey vote

Looking for a better way to get your fans invested in a jersey launch?  Why not get your members to design it!

This is exactly what Melbourne Storm did in collaboration with apparel partner Castore Sportswear.  

Fans submitted jersey designs using Castore’s design template.  Four options were shortlisted by the club, and opened to a public vote.  Storm created a bespoke microsite for the campaign, which housed the Campaignware vote mechanic, competition terms and the four fan-designed jerseys.

We absolutely loved this campaign.  Melbourne Storm demonstrated their continuing commitment to finding innovative ways to communicate with and give fans a voice.  

Storm fans obviously felt the same and showed their support with their votes.  This campaign was in the Campaignware Top 3 of 2021 for highest number of entries on a single campaign.

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Hawthorn FC - Farewell Message Wall

A touching fan tribute for two club greats, as Hawthorn gave fans a unique way of saying farewell to their heroes.

Using the Campaignware User Generated Content Wall campaign, Hawthorn FC asked fans to submit photos, videos or just a text message of their favourite moment from legends Alistair Clarkson and Shaun Burgoyne.

There were over a thousand high quality and emotional submissions from fans.  The content was repurposed for social media and used in-stadium by the club.

This campaign spotlights some of Campaignware’s unique capabilities, with User Generated Content Walls and real-time ‘live event’ updates for content and vote tallies to embed in broadcast  and on stadia big screens. The Campaignware team felt rather emotional as Hawthorn fan submissions rolled in and Alistair Clarkson and Shaun Burgoyne suited up for the final time - this one was from the heart.

Another great example of a club giving their fans a new way to interact with the club, and in this case their favourite players.  We loved this from the Hawks!

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Geelong Cats x Whiskas - Goal of the Year

What brand would not want to be aligned with their sponsorship asset’s best moment of the season?!

Geelong Cats partner Whiskas had plenty of great moments to choose from after another impressive season and shortlisted 4 goals to put to the fan vote.

Using the Campaignware Video Vote template, the Geelong Cats marketing team were able to transform  video content that had already been produced, into a fan vote and data capture opportunity for their sponsor. Customisable lead generation fields make this template extremely effective for capturing valuable GDPR compliant data for club, brand or sponsor.

This campaign stands out as a great example of how clubs can create and repurpose video content for multiple channels, i.e. website, social, app and YouTube, and then create a premium destination for a sponsor.  An efficient use of resources and repurposing of content.

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Melbourne Storm x FuelYourLife - The Ultimate Finals Team

The Melbourne Storm celebrated another Finals Series campaign on Campaignware, with a heap of brilliantly executed fan-first campaigns.  We could have showcased all of them but we had to narrow it down to one - it was a tough decision, but  this team picker or squad selector campaign stood out.  

Melbourne Storm tapped into nostalgia, for sponsor FuelYourLife dieticians, by asking fans to select their Ultimate Finals Team.  Fans were given a shortlist of players from the last 20 years to build their fantasy finals team.

Fans love to argue the greats of today versus the legends of yesteryear and this campaign housed that debate brilliantly. The digital conversations built on this smart and effective campaign prolonged fan engagement and sponsor result. The Campaignware team are huge fans of this execution for style and pure authentic fan interaction.

Storm used the Campaignware Team Picker template and uploaded player headshots to the pre-built Rugby League XIII formation.

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Hawthorn FC - The Silk Quiz

To mark the end of an illustrious career, Hawthorn FC created a trivia quiz for club legend Shaun Burgoyne.

Campaignware’s Trivia template enabled Hawks fans to demonstrate their club knowledge and loyalty, answering questions about Burgoyne’s disposals, kicks, team number and more. Leveraging the power of Campaignware, Hawk’s marketing team branded and built the campaign in less than 15 minutes.

Thousands of fans engaged in the fun campaign which was seamlessly integrated into the Hawks website and club app. The simplicity and effectiveness of this campaign easily pushed it into our top picks of the year.  

Hawthorn brilliantly used this engaging format to remind fans that the club legend was playing his final few games for the club.  A great use of gamification to drive ticket sales.

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