Sky TV and Hello have rallied the country to show support for hometown hero Joseph Parker ahead of his heavyweight title unification bout in Cardiff.
The fight, against current heavyweight Anthony Joshua, is a winner takes all duel, with WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO titles on the line.
To make Parker feel at home, Sky is going the extra mile by allowing fans to send messages to its digital platform, which will then be shared on a large digital billboard in the heart of Cardiff.
Kristy Simpson, head of digital at Sky TV, emphasises the importance of the spectacle saying it's "his biggest fight and we want to show Joe we’re all behind him, all of Sky TV, all of New Zealand".
“We’re rallying the country to show their patriotic support for him on a world stage. He’s about to walk into an arena of 80,000 screaming British boxing fans and we want to let him know he’s not alone. It’s heartfelt messages from his Kiwi fans, his Samoan fans, right in the heart of Cardiff.”
To foster all the support possible, Sky TV has released an additional 60-second spot, by Curious, to encourage fans to reach out to Parker.
The ad steps out of the ring and puts the spotlight on Joseph Parker's mother, Sala, who recounts her son’s journey to the top.
"My boy, a little Mangere kid with a big dream.”
The video reminisces about Parker's success and the unwavering support behind him. The filming shows old memorabilia, fighting footage and childhood photographs and finishes with Sala inviting New Zealand to embrace Parker: “Now my boy, he’s our boy.”
Mike Watson, director of marketing at Sky TV, says the campaign is a great way for the country to get behind Joseph Parker, on the world stage.
"We’re so far away, but through this campaign, Kiwis can get closer to the build-up of the historic fight. A great idea and clever mix of digital media has delivered a brilliant outcome by the team and agencies involved.”
It’s not the first-time brands have found new ways for fans to message athletes; in 2016 ANZ launched its Olympic campaign app, which enabled users to send messages through the stars using a beam of light that emanated from the ANZ Tower in Auckland.
While the ANZ scheme was slightly more sci-fi than Sky TV’s digital billboard in Cardiff, both connected diehard fans with beloved athletes.