Standard Chartered Bank – Tech Ball

SapientNitroUK

Expressing

Production / Professional

Team

Malcolm Poynton Chief Creative Officer Europe, Ben Callis Creative Director, Justin Barnes Creative Director, Dan Beattie Creative Technology, Omaid Hiwaizi Planning Director, Kousha Forshami Copywriter, Greg Young Art Director, Mike Falconer Account Manager, Stephen Worley Director of Moving Image, Mickael Charbonnel Art Director, Charlotte Whatmough Producer, Blac Ionica Film Production Company, Flynn Design Product Design Company

Overview

Standard Chartered Bank are the shirt sponsor of Liverpool Football Club – a partnership which results in a great deal of awareness of the bank amongst the mass-affluent male football audiences in the Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries, where they have their retail network. While they were happy with the reach of being a shirt sponsor delivers, Standard Chartered were seeking greater engagement and connection with their brand amongst football fans. In response we created the 90 Seconds to Anfield campaign that revolves around the ‘Tech-Ball’ innovation.

We set about dramatizing the bank’s passion for football by literally developing a new perspective on the game – the ‘Ball’s Eye View’, delivered through the ‘Tech Ball’. The ‘Tech Ball’ is a unique soccer ball that pushes football manufacturing and technology to include a digital camera embedded inside it. It is weighted and balanced to behave like a FIFA standard football, enabling us to capture the sound and action from a perspective never seen before.

The ‘Tech Ball’ is currently in iteration 2 having already been used to launch Standard Chartered Bank’s ’90 Seconds to Anfield’ marketing campaign.

Audience

Football fans around the world are driven by one universal thing: their passion for the game. Our insight was that the closer they get to the match, the more passionate they get. To watch the matches live, our fans across Asia, Middle East and Africa were most likely having to stay up and watch the matches on TV, with headphones on – so as not to disturb their families! We needed a different way to make them feel closer to the sport and engage them more emotionally.

Impact

The ‘Tech Ball’ introduced a new way of looking at football to fans the world over. We envisage this to become part of the visual lexicon of how the sport is presented. We’ve manufactured a number of balls for our client Standard Chartered Bank, which are being used to create content for the ’90 Seconds To Anfield’ competition, fueling engagement from their sponsorship of Liverpool Football Club.

The ‘Tech Ball’ has been central to the success of Standard Chartered Bank’s ’90 Seconds To Anfield’ competition, across 5 key markets. It spread world-over to over 20 countries.
Our Facebook posts received up to 60k likes each, 369k people visited our competition app, and there were 5 million views of video content about the innovative ‘Tech Ball’, LFC interviews and the launch film. Total Facebook reach of 28 million and total impressions of 1.4bn This led to an impressive 49% increase in the Group Facebook community

With the second generation Tech Ball already in development we have a roadmap of technology innovation – this includes:

  • Adding sonic outputs and a data capture capability
  • Optimising ‘focused, frame-cut’ video capture and moving image stabilization
  • Productising the construction for scale production.

Craft

The journey of the ‘Tech Ball’ is a story of passion and perseverance in itself!

The process of developing the ball from scratch required multiple design approaches, experiments, abandoned prototypes and proof of concept phases in order to get to a match-fit ball. We started off with several rough designs, moved to proofs of concept and prototypes using off the shelf hardware including iPhone camera components, Go-Pro cameras and lesser known micro recording devices to test viability.

Moving into production, we partnered a product manufacture specialist to hand make a pressurized ball with camera and sensors derived from modified iPhone 4S components.
Learning from this phase led to a new ball and digital technology. We created a molded foam form, constructed in two halves, which enabled us to drill out the form to accommodate video and sound recording.

The proof of concept proved valid so we further refined it through field-testing with Liverpool Football Club. This resulted in a sophisticated one-piece foam construction with single point of access, recessed flexible acrylic cover to protect players’ feet and the camera, better air-tightness and balanced weight distribution to provide true FIFA standard-like performance, balanced to the players’ expectation of ball control.

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