TVNZ throws ad-hoc carnival, aims to spread World Cup fever

Blacksand digital creative director Adam Sarkar, a self-confessed martyr in his support of the English national team, says that the general consensus among even the most moderate football fans is that being in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup would be a helluva party. So, in an effort to share the festivities with those Kiwis and expats who aren’t fortunate enough to be in the host country, his creative team set up an ad-hoc carnival in Auckland.

Placing the seemingly innocuous duo of a mini-goal and a football alongside a ‘kick me’ sign, the Blacksand team waited out of sight, with their cameras ready, for any passersby to take the bait.

Those who did kick the ball into the net were then caught off gaurd by an impromptu carnival made up of football players, samba dancers, capoeira performers and fans from all over the world. 

“We had a modest budget, but we really wanted to communicate how enjoyable the atmosphere is when it comes to the World Cup,” says Sarkar. “It’s the biggest sporting event in the world and we wanted to show Kiwis, who aren’t necessarily the biggest fans, how much fun it is to be part of the action.”

He says that orchestrating the campaign, which has been launched under the slogan ‘Live the game. Love the party,’ caused several logistical issues because of the diversity of the crew that made up carnival.

“We had so many different languages and it was a little chaotic at times, but everyone involved really put in a great effort, which enabled us to get the shots we needed for the promo.”

In addition to orchestrating the experiential stunt, Blacksand also cut a 40-second promo video by using footage from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

This promotional push comes after last month’s announcement that TVNZ had again secured rights to broadcast 22 live games—including the opening ceremony and first match, nine group games (which includes all England’s games), four second round matches, all quarter-finals, both semi-finals, the third/fourth playoff and the final—for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Brazil next month.

Jason Foden, TVNZ’s general manager of on-demand, says that the broadcaster is ready for the challenge of delivering the content to Kiwis without any hiccups. 

“We’ve been here before during the America’s Cup,” he says. “The huge demand for that content really served as our baptism of fire as Kiwis watched the races on television and also streamed the content on their phones, laptops and iPads no matter where they were.”

While he admits there were a delays when TVNZ streamed the America’s Cup content, he says that TVNZ has made some upgrades to ensure that everything runs smoothly throughout the World Cup.   

Foden says that all the games will be hosted on a specially dedicated FIFA World Cup hub, where fans will be able to access the games, additional content, highlights and periodic rundowns by host Martin Devlin. 

“Martin is a full-on football nut and it’s going to be great to have him share his thoughts on the games throughout the tournament.”

In order to ensure a consistent stream of traffic to the hub, TVNZ has linked into to it via various external sites. “We have quite a few points of entry from news sites and promotional links,” says Foden.

TVNZ is monetising its on-demand coverage of the event via sponsorship deals and pre-roll advertising.

“Nike and TAB have been a huge help in terms of enabling us to keep the content free-to-air,” says Foden. “In addition to these sponsorship deals, we will also have pre-rolls, which will run when a stream is activated, even if it’s in the middle of the game.”

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