William Trubridge didn't quite manage to break his own free-diving world record on Wednesday morning. But, with the help of a big push from Steinlager and a live broadcast from TVNZ, he did manage to get plenty of New Zealanders watching the attempt on Breakfast.
Steinlager, DDB and Zenith Optimedia put in a big effort to promote the dive, with one of the highlights being the interactive 102m website. And it paid off. According to Nielsen stats, the cume reach audience on Wednesday morning was 209,700 in AP 25 - 54 and 462,100 in AP 5+. It's still a way off the America's Cup, which saw 1.2 million people tune in on 21 September. But it's more than the 298,000 than tuned in for the England vs. Italy Football World Cup game. So getting that many people interested in a fringe sport like free-diving is a pretty good effort. Although the expectation that it will "stop the nation" could be painted as slightly optimistic.
TVNZ publicist Rachel Howard says during the dive at 8.10am in AP 25 - 54 the rating point was 3.6 with a 47 percent share of the TV audience, and in 5+ the rating point was 4.2 with a 49 percent share.
"The Deep Dive clearly won the time zone against other channels."
While the numbers are impressive, not everybody was impressed with the coverage, with The Spinoff comparing it unfavourably to other recent stunt television events like Nick Wallenda's tightrope walk. And it seems as though space is sexier than the watery depths, with Felix Baumgartner's jump getting huge interest from around the world.
In addition to the TV viewership, there was also plenty of PR coverage for the stunt and lots of social engagement, in part because it ran the 'Tweet Sonar' during the dive, which saw updates running across digital billboards.
- Total Facebook + Twitter Impressions: 21,489,599
- The video had a reach of over 1,000,000 and over 250,000 views in 24 hours (on Facebook and YouTube).
- Over 100,000 people used TVNZ OnDemand on the day of the dive, a massive spike on TVNZ standard numbers.
While Steinlager probably would've liked to be trumpeting Trubridge's success, not surprisingly, it also had a failure strategy up its sleeve (one day we hope the version of the white can campaign that was made in case of an All Blacks loss will be released) and reiterated its unconditional support and alluded to the fact that he is still a 15x world record holder in its follow-up print ad.
As DDB chief executive Justin Mowday said in a statement: "William set out to achieve a new world record with the help of Steinlager and DDB. While he didn’t reach his new free-diving goal, he absolutely captured the hearts of the nation on his journey. A year ago William Trubridge wasn’t a household name in New Zealand, despite being one of our most successful athletes in the world. Today William is our hero."
And Steinlager's Michael Taylor said: “William captured the hearts of the nation along the way, in some ways an even greater feat than a new world record. His extraordinary effort is still worth celebrating and it sends a pretty strong message to us all – win or lose – it's the giving it a go that gives William his edge and we should all feel pretty proud of him today."
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