As is customary at Synergy, major sporting events not only create a buzz of excitement around the office but also represent the culmination of a lot of hard work for certain account teams. This year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles was no different, as we helped Standard Life Investments and BMW showcase their partnerships at the historic event.
As the first ever worldwide partner of the Ryder Cup, Standard Life Investment’s campaign focused around the theme of ‘World Class as Standard’, with much of Synergy’s work revolving around key ambassadors, Curtis Strange and Sam Torrance. Opposing captains at the Belfry in 2002, they have grown to become great friends over the years and this rapport became the foundation for SLI’s series of 12 films, focusing on the Ryder Cup as a truly world class event. Interviewed by Sky Sports Golf correspondent, Sarah Stirk, the duo spoke on location at Gleneagles about the decisions, preparation, and challenges that are part and parcel of being Captain of either side. These films were a great success, gathering over 34,000 views on YouTube and featuring on the Sky Sports Ryder Cup On Demand channel.
Standard Life Investment’s ambassador work was not restricted to this film series however. Sam Torrance took part in content days before and after the competition, giving golf fans and national media real insight into the European team through one of their vice-captains; whilst Curtis Strange helped to underline the worldwide nature of the campaign with a SLI golf day in Boston.
All of this work led to over 78 pieces of coverage for Standard Life Investments including key ‘golden media’ titles FT Weekend Magazine, The Guardian and The Sunday Telegraph.
2012 European captain, Jose Maria Olazabal and 2014’s victorious captain, Paul McGinley, also became part of the team as key-note speakers at conferences targeting Standard Life Investment’s C-suite audience. In the final month before the tournament, the Ryder Cup was also on the road as we managed an engagement tour around 9 key media outlets in London.
Synergy’s footprint was also clear at the event itself having helped manage SLI’s significant ticket allocation. Through the distribution of tickets to local schools and suitable charities (recommended by ambassador, Sam Torrance) Synergy were able to contribute to SLI’s community and client guest programme, which was the largest at the tournament.
The BMW team at Synergy had their eyes trained even closer on the action as they managed the brand’s social media activity throughout the tournament. The social space at the Ryder Cup was a key battleground, with bookies, European Tour and PGA Sponsors, Tournament Sponsors and even FMCG brands such as Innocent smoothies getting involved. It was essential that BMW not only avoided the usual traps that reactive content can fall into (becoming a score feed) but also stood out in a crowded market.
The team were fortunate enough that the creative basis of BMW’s #DriveYourTeam campaign was visually compelling and allowed BMW to take a neutral position. From there, BMW were able to offer fans high quality, emotive, and selective content that encouraged interaction. Across the weekend, this balanced what BMW were doing ‘on the ground’ at Gleneagles, as well as reactive content from the action on the green.
The Synergy BMW team were based in the media centre at Gleneagles; designing, curating, watching and reacting quickly to what happened on the course. With up to 12 matches going on at once, it was important to prioritise moments that stood out. Some of these were obvious, such as McIlroy’s destruction of Rickie Fowler on day three, but for the less obvious, the team were able to monitor the crowds at the course, as well as internet buzz, to focus on moments that were already being discussed and were therefore more likely to be engaged with.
The Ryder Cup’s unique match-play set-up also allowed the team to utilise innovative Twitter features intelligently and creatively. This included 4-pic montages that helped to highlight crucial moments and session scores – a tactic that was mirrored by the official Ryder Cup social feeds and several other broadcasters.
Following Europe’s win, the team reacted extremely quickly by delivering a ‘trophy’ shot both of the team and of BMW Ambassador Paul McGinley, resulting in an immediate uplift in interactions. This sort of quick thinking, alongside a well thought out strategy, contributed to BMW being named as the most dominant Ryder Cup sponsor across social by monitoring group Brandwatch.
By Rob Guppy on October 31st, 2014