In 2015, Tennent’s approached us for its first major integrated campaign for three years. The brief was a television brief but they wanted to speak to 18-24 year olds and this made us think; ‘is TV really the best way to get to this audience?’
So, huddled in a cold Finnieston office over the Christmas holidays with Digital Agency Bright Signals, we uncovered evidence that the Tennent’s audience is increasingly turned-off by traditional brand marketing. They inhabited a multi-platform world, where they chose what they watched, on demand, on whatever screen they had closest to them. However, if they liked something they had the tools to share it. That could mean (free) reach and advocacy. And especially with this audience, advocacy is key. Whatever we did needed to recognise that and harness it.
Creative Directors (and the brains, voices, men behind Wellpark) Jordan and Ian had always wanted to do a reactive cartoon - inspired by shows like South Park who make their episodes in a week so that they always appear relevant and topical.
So we came up with Wellpark - a Scottish town designed to sell you beer. All of the sketches had to be based on a Scottish truth or insight. We had pub philosophers, a cocky guide dog, the insurance broker who insures superheroes, the trend-gobbling hipsters and many more! The guise of an everyday Scottish town allowed us to focus on these societal touch-points Scottish folk see everyday to make the drinkers think ‘that’s my mate’ or ‘that’s me!’
It was unlike anything that had come before. Rather than lead with a single TV ad, we created 35 pieces of animated content in four months, based on the principle that no matter how good your TV ad is, on the internet it is only going to get a few days of interest before fading away. We made ads designed not for a channel, but for any screen. We made ads designed not for a channel, but for any screen.
And, we needed to make more than one.
We assembled a team of animators and an illustrators to work on Wellpark for 4 months straight. To keep the topical ads topical we had to work closely with the media agency Republic of Media and broadcasters such as Channel 4.
We’d produce a bunch of audio scripts for a weekly meeting with the client and other agencies and we’d pick a few each week. We’d then get our long-suffering illustrator Pablo Clark to draw the sketches and our animation team to break them down and animate them.
We had a reactive character already ready to be animated in the Literal Fly on the Wall; and when the FIFA scandal hit we managed to get from concept to live in under 5 hours.
One result, in our research findings really took us by surprise. ‘Spontaneous Advertising Awareness’ actually dropped, from 33% to 24%. A moment of concern? In fact, quite the opposite. The Wellpark campaign had managed to do what Tennent’s had dreamt of at the start. It engaged our target audience and significantly changed their connection with Tennent’s, without them realising they were being advertised to.
Overall engagement rate was around three times the industry average for alcohol brands. Over 17,000 articles were written about it and an OTS in excess of 1.4bn across the series.
Wellpark animations were viewed in excess of 3.7 million times on digital channels. The campaign generated more than 46,000 interactions on Facebook (likes, comments, shares) and 158,000 on Twitter (retweets, replies and favourites).
Of course, the metric that matters most, is sales. Research extrapolated the ‘Drunk in last 7 days’ metric and across all drinkers we estimate that Wellpark produced an additional 7,600 Tennent’s drinkers. If their consumption levels were sustained for a full year then the campaign would generate additional sales equivalent to 2.1 million pints.