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Behind the Work in association withThe Immortal Awards
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How a TikTok Broadcast Changed Women’s Sport with TBWA\NZ

21/05/2024
Advertising Agency
Auckland, New Zealand
232
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LBB’s Casey Martin spoke with TBWA\NZ about the world’s first TikTok sporting broadcast
For many households, if it’s a footy night the television is on broadcasting the game. 

The loudness of the crowds, the familiar team chants, the glory of winning the game, the bonding of families, and the commentators having a laugh. It’s a ritual as old as time. 

It’s also, however, a field dominated by men’s sport. Despite the success of the women’s world cup last year, there is still a long way to go when it comes to supporting women’s sport in the mainstream media. 

2degrees, avid supporters of women’s sport and TBWA\NZ partnered together to create the world’s first TikTok broadcast of the Super Rugby Aupiki final between the nib Blues and Chiefs Manawa on Saturday 13 April. 

TBWA\NZ AND 2degrees had a dedicated team of professionals filming the game for the TikTok format. 

With specialised presenters and audience participation both online and on the field, the broadcast was a roaring success. The number of online viewers was five-times the number of people who attended the match in person. 

LBB’s Casey Martin spoke with TBWA\NZ’s CEO Catherine Harris, CCO Shane Bradnick and creative partners, Ashley Wilding and Dan Davison on how this will change women’s sport and the future of social media marketing.

LBB> Why was this particular project important to you?


Catherine> 2degrees and TBWA have been supporters of women’s sport for years and we want to keep pushing its profile and engagement at every opportunity. Watching, supporting, and being involved in women’s sports shouldn’t be seen as supporting a cause or as charitable - these are amazing world-class athletes playing at an extremely high level and being hugely entertaining. So to be able to reflect this and get a whole new audience involved in an immersive and entertaining way was awesome.

LBB> With the success of the initiative, is there a future where we will see more collaborations like these to encourage the participation in Women’s sport?


Catherine> Yes, definitely! The superstars of tomorrow are the ones being inspired by the superstars of today. The more young athletes and fans can engage with and see these amazing athletes the more they will be inspired to get involved and play. Brands and agencies have a great opportunity, and responsibility to help - they have the resources and the creative ambition to do things differently and connect new audiences with women’s sport.

LBB> What were the challenges and what did you learn from them?


Shane> Doing a world first - with a lot of different partners and a million moving parts, can be a bit tricky - so the biggest challenge was how long it takes to get a project off the ground, there are always a lot reasons things can’t be done so keeping the team focused on the mission and the idea is critical. 2degrees were outstanding clients, leaning in and problem solving at every hurdle we faced. You need passionate, agile clients to pull something with their scale off.

LBB> How do you believe this will change the way the industry uses social media as a tool?


Shane> Most brands just use social as a reach or amplification channel, with a lot of cheap content or lame influencer partnerships.

I think for brands to succeed they need to rethink social and see it as a way to truly engage with audiences - entertain and inspire them, and create content, programs, and events that can compete with things they are already liking and engaging with.

LBB> What was the biggest highlight from this campaign?


Ash and Dan> The reaction from the players when we first told them about the idea was awesome. When they were growing up, the only games they could watch were the men’s games on TV, so there was a lot of excitement around reaching a new generation of young female players.

Watching the live comments from fans was good fun too. Especially hearing from those who were streaming from strange places all around the country, like the person skiving work and watching from the loo, and the family who crowded around a phone screen while their kids watched Teenage Cracken on tele.

LBB> Having a dedicated production team for a TikTok live stream is amazing! Was there anything unexpected that came out of this experience?


Ash and Dan> Shooting and producing specifically for TikTok audiences is what made this idea unique to anything that’s been done before. It was non-negotiable from day one. A world-first in sports broadcasting is a huge statement for the growth of women’s rugby, and the best experience for mobile viewing was key for 2degrees.

We won’t lie, when the director at Sky said, “forget everything you know about traditional live sports broadcasting” we thought some people might beeline for the door, but everyone embraced the challenges. We brought in an exclusive commentary team, a bespoke camera crew, and designed an entirely new production model for vertical live sports.

It was the level of engagement from the viewers that was most unexpected. Watching live on social media, we knew the viewing experience would be different with fans dipping in and out. But we didn’t expect the constant stream of support and live interactions. In the end, we achieved 6000 in-game comments and 164,000 reactions in 80 minutes.

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