Heineken sets the bar pretty high when it comes to advertising. A few months ago they launched, among others, Champion the Match, amazing campaign that had random people who came to the grocery store calling their bosses to go a Champions League match instead of going to work.
This time around Heineken launched The Commentator Challenge. They gave a chance to passionate sports fans to comment a Champions League match that was televised live on national TV. They commented, or at least they tried, but what they didn’t know is that they aren’t going live.
These are the impressions from two men featured in the video: Marko Šapit, a sports commentator for Croatian Radio Television (HRT), and Ante Cicvarić, the winner of the Commentator Challenge.
Marko – professional commentator
How would you describe the experience of holding the Heineken “Commentator challenge” activity?
I had a lof of fun. Not in the mean way, I didn’t enjoy the torture we prepared for our “commentators”, but in a good way. I liked the project from the start, so the level of motivation was high. This type of activity is not a part of our everyday work, therefore the experience was that much more valuable. Of course, as this was somewhat of a premiere, there were some obstacles we had to overcome as we went on with it, but when you are working with the right people, imposibble is nothing. Either way, something new, something different, but definitely worth it.
Does Croatian Radio Television (HRT) have any benefits from marketing activities such as this one? What would they be?
Besides the financial aspect, with this type of activity HRT primarily works on its image, and interacts with its viewers. This is something that we are trying to do a lot more lately, we don’t want to fall behind our competition networks. We need to follow trends, and this is something we will look into more in the future. Also, these activities are a good opportunity to promote our own employees. I still think we did not use the full potential of this story due to some administrative issues and the deadline we had.
Do any of the participants of this challenge have potential to become a part of the HRT sports/commentator crew?
I think some do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the winner of the challenge is the one. The key factor, and a great starting point, is their passion for sports. I am not sure if they would want to be commentators, but it would be hard to believe someone will hire one of them, and give them a chance right away, based on this challenge. They would have to start at the bottom, and work their way to the commentator spot. First thing they need to do is to create their own personal style, because 3 out of 4 commmentators we had in the challenge were copying the style and expressions from existing commentators. But there is definitely potential!
How would you behave in their position, if you were a participant in the challenge?
To be honest, I wouldn’t even apply for the challenge. We had one major concern: “What if they run out of the commentator booth”, but that didn’t happen and congratulations are in order to all of them. I am not sure I would behave the same way.
Will HRT continue to participate in these type of activities with potential sponsors?
There is a will on our part, but sponsors need to come forward with ideas…unfortunately, most of the time they approach us with “we want something, but not sure what”, which of course makes things that much harder for all of us.
That was Marko, and after speaking with him, I could tell he was relieved everything went the way it did. Not to shabby for a first campaign.
Ante – passionate sports fan
Then we turned to Ante, the winner of the Croatian challenge, to hear his impressions, and how he handled the situation he was put in…
How would you describe your feelings when you relized the main commentator is not back in time for kickoff, and you recieved instructions to start commenting the game? What was on your mind at that moment?
I realized he isn’t coming back when the players came onto the field. I thought they would let me comment the game for a few minutes, just to see how I’m doing, and then come in and introduce me as one of the winners of Heineken’s challenge, and of course, take over. The thing is, when we arrived at HRT, they told us they have a surprise for us – we would be guest commentators and they would give us a chance to join in the conversation. Because of that, I prepared myself mentally that I would actually have to say a few words, as a guest commentator, at the half-time break.
When did you realize the main commentator isn’t coming back? Or did you completely forget about that?
As I already mentioned, I realized I am on my own once the game started. Honestly, I’ve been watching sports my whole life, and I looked at commenting as some kind of ideal job – you travel the world, watch games, and you get paid for it. As the minutes passed, I was more and more relaxed, and after some time I said to myself, “Here you are, watching a great game, you got a chance to be a commentator, kick some butt”. I forgot about everything else and enjoyed. I honestly felt like I did that for a living.
How much did this challenge raise awareness about Heineken as one of the main sponsors of the Champions League?
I was always aware of the size and power of Heineken as a brand. Based on what I saw on Ibiza alone, I am assuming they have an astronomical marketing budget. I mean, it’s one of the biggest companies in the world.
Do you think creative activities, such as this one, help brands sell?
I would say yes, definitely! Heineken for example, you have a feeling they’re everywhere, they’re always within your reach. That is a result of constant invesment in marketing and promotion.
Would this type of activity, based on its innovation, make you or your friends change your preffered beer?
This would be a great question if I was a big beer drinker haha.
Do you now have more understanding and tolerance toward sports commentators while watching football games or other sporting events?
I had understanding before, and none of my remarks were pointed toward counting their possible mistakes. Anyway, I still think they have a great job that provides them with many great moments and memories.
In all, Heineken Commentator Challenge was another great campaign from a great brand. Keep’em coming!
PHOTO: YouTube Screenshot, HRT