In order to reach a wider audience, our campaign had to extend beyond sports and speak to the culture at large, offering a story that's bigger than basketball and explores the legend we think we know. Steph was an undersized player, not destined for greatness by any means but he's quickly become one of the most popular and talked about players in the league -- his unique shooting abilities and championships earning polarizing acclaim, with some pundits accusing him of "Ruining The Game".
After a period of initial research, we landed on a strategic framework that revolved around Unprecedented Access to the Unexpected Legend. Our campaign concepts focused on the behind the scenes access to and how we could create content and buzz-worthy experiences to drive viewers to discover the man behind the myth.
Central to the overall strategy was leaning into the new focus on Groups on the platform, seeking ways to truly make this a community-driven social campaign that sparked discussion around the episodes in ways only Facebook can deliver.
Working around the busy schedule of an NBA superstar meant moving quickly to find a date and location that could work with Steph's availability and game schedule. We headed to Oakland and found a stage that could accommodate both a simultaneous key art shoot and work as a large-scale green screen letting us capture a wide range of motion and social assets.
The plan of attack was two side-by-side setups that minimize any downtime for Steph and take advantage of the few hours we would have to capture all of the content we'd need for print, digital, social and audio content. We shot a huge range of options including classic portrait shots, action moments in Warriors gear, workout apparel and street gear and included some more voyeuristic shots in a space at the front of the studio to make sure we nailed the authentic and personal nature of the series positioning. On the motion side we quickly ran through shots of Steph dribbling, delivering lines for Swipe Up content, bespoke video concepts and a number of elements we used for GIFs, content spots and video-driven ads.
As part of the planned 360 campaign, we designed and developed a number of digital banners, video units and ad placements with a large cross-section of partners including Twitter, ESPN, Complex, Spotify, CBS Sports and other outlets. In addition to a custom Twitter emoji, Twitter Video Cards, Tweet to Remind executions and other high-visbility placements, we launched page takeovers and targeted paid ads leading up to the premiere of episode 1 across the places we knew our potential audience would be spending their time.
With the help of the range of assets captured at our marketing shoot with Steph we were able to create a variety of bespoke content targeted to disrupt on many different mediums. This included the creation of animated banners for desktop and mobile and working closely with the Facebook Watch team to ensure a top-secret update to Facebook branding that was set to launch only days before our entire digital campaign was due to launch.
Ruin The Ad
Inspired by the "Ruin The Game" ethos that Stephen has turned into a mantra, our team looked for ways to be just as disruptive to user feeds and showcase Facebook as masters of their own marketing on their native platforms in creative ways.
Full screen playing in a Story is quickly "bounced" down from the top as Steph dribbles, catching the user off-guard. During an ad playing the trailer, Steph suddenly dribbles across the screen - literally "ruining" the ad just like he's accused of doing with the game of basketball.
Another piece of video features Steph bouncing a basketball off the user's screen, eventually shattering the glass and ending with Steph telling us to check out the premiere of his new series. Initial testing scored this as one of the most effective ads Facebook had ever run on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and drove tons of engagement with the trailer.
Our creative contributions extended from social content to elements of the show page itself including the show page's profile photo, header and even the episode thumbnails representing the show to viewers. Across dozens of social assets we found ways to cleverly use Stickers, Quizzes, Polls and Countdown Stickers to build awareness and drive excitement as the Episode 1 premiere approached.
In addition to the standard assets like Countdown Cards, we took advantage of a surprise moment when Steph used downtime at our shoot to text on his phone. It sparked an idea for one of our favorite pieces of custom content, allowing us to create a series of fun motion graphics spots imagining Steph texting with his wife, his brother and others about his excitement for the series.
The Wildlife team was even on-hand at the red carpet premiere capturing additional social content, posting Stories in real-time and capturing photos and videos to help support the prime-time launch of the show, even grabbing a quick shoutout from Stephen himself to the fans in the Official Stephen Curry Fan Group.
While there was a huge number of assets to prep for launch, we couldn't lose focus as future episodes premiered, requiring between 5-7 reactive episodes a week including custom GIPHY stickers for social uses, weekly poll questions, animated episode quotes, motion-graphics focused episodic highlights, next-on teasers and cutdown videos across a range of topics.
As the Warriors progressed through each round of the playoffs, we looked for more content opportunities to keep the audience engaged and reach out to new users yet to tune in for an episode. Custom content was created for the Group as well, including weekly polls to reward fans with unreleased footage from the cutting-room floor, making the Group itself a place for fans to find exclusive content and drive tune-ins week after week.
Launching on the cusp of the NBA playoffs, Stephen vs The Game debuted to strong numbers, reaching more than 5 million views on its initial release. A strong media push and a steady flow of social content supported by the digital banners on launch day and targeted broadcast placements of :30 trailer spot during Warriors games helped keep the momentum, with subsequent audiences continuing to tune in each week.
As Stephen and the Warriors continue to march through the NBA Playoffs in pursuit of a 4th title, the show continues to film his story and our ongoing posts in The Official Stephen Curry Group on Facebook along with the Versus on Watch social channels has kept engagement high, driving viewers to the series on Facebook Watch.
- 5MViews of the 1st Episode
- 4thChampionship Ring
- 52Social Assets