Cannes Lions

#GameOn: Finding Natural-Born Poker Players

GRAVITY ROAD, London / POKERSTARS / 2018

Awards:

1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Case Film
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

An insight unlocked a big play for us. At the heart of poker is the spirit of competitiveness, the desire to outwit and outsmart an opponent. And in the real world, these instincts have a found an new stage to play out on: that of social media.

Social was where these outwitting battles and behaviours came to life. And the best of these was the celebrity social media beef; the tit-for-tat duel where spectators can cheer from the sidelines. So we mimicked this celebrity duelling mechanic, creating a call-and-response battle of one-upmanship between talent, played out natively on their own social channels. The #Gameon format wrapper supported this, building on the hyperbole of professional wrestling grudge matches.

We had a poker-like battle of wits, so poker they didn’t even need cards. And the game played out in the greatest game of all: social media, where its stats became our scorecard.

Execution

The #GameOn feud kicked off in June 2017, and escalated over 6 months of call-and-response on our stars’ social feeds. From the get-go, they exhibited the kind of everyday behaviours integral to poker: bluffing, spotting bluffs and calling each other out. The chemistry was instant, so we wrote each challenge as a format with space for the talent to shine. And they did. This looseness helped us be highly efficient with production, shooting 9 films in 6 hours, conscious more films meant more views. We orchestrated the campaign around our talents’ other activities, driving cultural relevance and leveraging media attention by weaving their much-documented lives into the storyline of #GameOn. The stars threw themselves into the challenge, so what had begun as a setup soon felt intensely real, with regular “extracurricular roasting” from both parties. The guys loved the rounds, leaning in, over-delivering, calling each other out. #GameOn lit up.

Outcome

PokerStars had an already ambitious target to drive 100 million views globally. Far out! But #GameOn has more than doubled this with 238 million views - and counting. Thanks to more than 620,000 social shares, celebrity backing from the likes of The Rock, Beckham and Lewis Hamilton and 600+ press pickups, we achieved 95% of our total views organically on social. People were demanding the two have a TV show. The campaign outperformed all our talents’ and UNILAD other brand partnerships on social - but even more impressively, they outperformed non-branded content too, beating all of Hart and Bolt’s own videos in views for 2017. On average, a #GameOn post was twice as popular as non-branded videos on talent social channels. By bringing the spirit of poker to the game of social media, we created the biggest consumer brand social campaign of all time. Now poker is back. #GameOn

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