Spikes Asia

Viewer Verdict

OGILVY AUSTRALIA, Sydney / KFC / 2021

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Overview

Background

In 2018, KFC became the official naming rights sponsor of the ‘NRL Video Referee’ area at the ground and during the live TV broadcast where footage of contentious decisions is replayed from many different angles – which is very time consuming.

Unfortunately, it’s also the moment within the game when fans either momentarily switch off (it’s not that exciting watching someone else watch a screen), get annoyed by how long it takes for the video referee to make a decision or are extremely tense and anxious (the decision could hurt their team’s chances of winning).

Our brief was to turn this moment into an asset for KFC; for it to be an opportunity for footy fans to engage with us positively, rather than negatively.

Every fan thinks they can do a faster and better job than the video referee. So, KFC gave fans one simple task: prove it.

Idea

The NRL video referee has been causing arguments since its introduction in 1997. Fans continuously question the video referee’s decisions, believing they can do a faster and better job. In 2018, KFC challenged fans to prove it.

We created the technology for a real-time, fan-version of the video referee: KFC VIEWER VERDICT.

With live API feeds from the NRL Video Referee who reviews and adjudicates on contentious try scoring moments in the game – fans had the opportunity to select ‘TRY’ or ‘NO TRY’ while the official decision was pending.

The official decision was then shown, along with a message on whether the fan’s decision matched it. The total result of all viewers’ votes was displayed on-screen in the TV broadcast, in the app and on the microsite. This led to commentators discussing verdicts in-game, while further broadcast integration came in weekly Fox League entertainment shows, where verdicts were debated.

Strategy

The Video Referee area at NRL games is a state-of-the-art facility with 57 monitors to improve the consistency and transparency of contentious try decisions. And KFC has the naming rights.

However, the Video Referee is very unpopular with NRL fans due to the time it takes to make a decision. Our task was to turn these ‘annoying’ decision-making moments into an engaging and rewarding experience that added to fans’ enjoyment, not get in their way.

By understanding the behavioural nuances of NRL fans, we knew they thought the Video Referee was annoying while identifying that watching matches was an occasion where they would want food. Combining the two created a powerful solution that was beneficial for fans, KFC and the NRL.

Our strategy was to empower fans with the ability to register their opinion on contentious video referee decisions and reward them with KFC food offers for making correct decisions.

Execution

The KFC VIEWER VERDICT game was easily accessed through the KFC app. Fans simply pressed the green ‘TRY’ button or the red ‘NO TRY’ button once the video referee was called upon during live matches. The game was deliberately designed to be simple and quick (there was a 30 second countdown clock) because:

(a) We didn’t want to detract from fans enjoyment, we wanted to enhance it.

(b) The interaction had to be quicker than the video referees’ decision (which takes on average 24 seconds)

What fans didn’t see was how we made the incredibly complex, incredibly simple. Live API feeds had to be synced with the app in a seamless manner to allow players at home to react in real time.

The game ran throughout the 2018 and 2019 NRL seasons and promoted via Dynamic Viz Pull-Throughs, which displayed the live results of our viewer verdicts during TV broadcasts.

Outcome

KFC VIEWER VERDICT launched halfway through the 2018 season. Dynamic Viz Pull-Throughs appeared on-screen during the live TV broadcast, displaying the viewer verdicts in real-time and talked about by the commentary team. Throughout the campaign, the activity reached 8,657,746 people (Fox Footy 2018 & 2019).

The game has been played 180,939 times, with 46,988 sign-ups to the app. With the introduction of a competitive leaderboard in 2019, we saw average session times increase to 4:05 minutes as players battled against each-other to win a range of prizes.

Most importantly, we ensured that passionate NRL fans had their say while providing an additive fan engagement experience for the KFC brand and for the NRL sponsorship team.

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