Backstory on Barfoot’s World Masters Games advert

Estimated reading time: 7 min

I saw the Barfoot & Thompson’s advertising sponsorship of the Auckland World Masters Games and was stunned by the ingenuity of the imagery.  Here’s a poster near my office.

Barfoot And Thompson sponsorship of World Masters Games

Barfoot And Thompson sponsorship of World Masters Games

And this prompted me to want to find out more about the context for the campaign.

Barfoot’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jen Baird, kindly answered my questions and also introduced me to Joe Holden, the Creative Director.

Why did Barfoots take on the sponsorship of WMG?  

Jen Baird, CMO, Barfoot & Thompson

Jen Baird, CMO, Barfoot & Thompson

Sponsorship has become a larger part of our strategy over the years – a large part of our business is residential property sales – most people do this every 5-10 years.  We want to stay relevant in their lives when they’re not thinking about real estate.

Being involved in the community is key – we have always been very involved because real estate is about community and people.  WMG was an opportunity for us to be hugely about this amazing place where we all live.  Our over-arching objective is to make Auckland an amazing place to live, work and visit.  We are an Auckland-only real estate firm.  Bringing the event to Auckland is about us giving back to the City.

Our sponsorship helped WMG happen. 

What was the brief ?

The brief was quite broad – this is the largest sponsorship that B&T has undertaken.  The event fits nicely with our philosophy of supporting the local area and also sports – we have  backed sport with sponsorship before.

We wanted brand awareness, and also to continue to build awareness of us as a strong community partner. We have a philosophy of being a family-run business.  This is all about Auckland, a celebration of sport and Auckland tied together and made relevant for us.

We sent a full brief about what the WMG event was all about and what our sponsorship means to us as an organisation and what our goals are.  It’s about celebrating the games and also the City and making the city amazing and creating great events that bring visitors here from overseas.

We felt that when the creative team came back with such as strong concept – we felt we didn’t need lots of iterations – it was so strong on its own and so we put everything behind it. 

All the space has been booked by us.  It was launched beginning of February with light touch digital – there’s more this month and again in April, it’s largely digital and outdoor media.

What next?

One of the things we’re excited about is an activation using a Cheer Squad – visiting competitors entered a draw to win their own “cheer squad” – we have 7 winners and they will have their very own squad to support while they are competing. … we did a Skype interview with the first winner, she’s a Professor from Yale University.  She was entered in Softball with an Australian team.

The athletes who have won are competing in cycling, golf, hammer throw, triathlon, softball and 2 x athletics.

We are doing lots of local promotion with staff in our branches and local schools. One of the legacy goals is to get kids involved to try out sports.  There are 42 venues across the region – we are also down at the entertainment hub at the Cloud.  We’ve got a sports arena set up there, for try-outs for a load of sports.

And the medals are also branded in corporate colours, Blue and gold,  blue and silver, blue and bronze.

[Watch out for Jen in her running shoes as she will be doing the 10k run from the Cloud to Orakei and back.]

WMG time lapse

Take a sneak peek behind the scenes of our World Masters Games campaign video! Each of the events in the Games has been represented here – can you find your sport?

Posted by Barfoot & Thompson on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Joe Holden talks about the creative process

What was the brief you received?

This was sold to us as the biggest sponsorship Barfoots had ever done.  We needed to really reflect that as in the past these sponsorships have had ideas that have tied in with selling real estate. This time the brief was more open – the background to the sponsorship is that B&T love Auckland, and giving to the City, and enabling Aucklanders to benefit from the big events, which may not come here without their sponsorship.  They did it in the past with the Triathlon World Wide Naming Sponsor for 2 years. 

This is all about participation – not spectatorship.  It’s a massive event and unless they’re participating the people in the street won’t know much about it.  Awareness is mainly with the competitors but Day 1 on April 21st everyone is going to realise something massive is on.

How did the team set about brainstorming the concepts?

We kicked around a lot of different thoughts – upfront normally when you brief a campaign it’s a minimum of three different executions.  But we did come up with a lot of multi-execution ideas.  So we struggled in a way – there are 28 different sports and sub-events within them.  We couldn’t use ideas that only showed one sport because that would be ignoring 27 others; so multiple executions would not be possible. 

We had different views of Auckland – Bean Rock as a shuttlecock and North Head was a cycle helmet…. but that iconic view of downtown from the water with the key things like Sky Tower and Vero Tower we felt that was the strongest one. 

To do it well, we realised we needed to put all our eggs into one basket – it was a craft job and had to be done really well to work on any format – you get prolonged enjoyment by seeing more detail. 

I’m really happy with the standard of the execution. There aren’t many jobs where you don’t have a thought about how to improve it afterwards.  With this one we had a long time to do it and we had ultimate control and we could control all the variables 

How did you shoot the image?  

There was no photographic shooting – it was all done by 3D modelling.  All the elements of the sporting equipment pieces were sourced as 3D models and skinned, lit and textured and coloured and logos removed.  Or they were created from scratch.  You can buy models of sports equipment e.g. Nike shoes – but it’s a rudimentary model and you have to put the colours and textures into it.  So you start with that and build each one of them and then have the arguments about what goes where!

For example, the concrete texture in the front of the picture – we felt it should not be water.  It’s not a photoshop collage, it’s a representation of Auckland but isn’t Auckland.  So it’s concrete.

We got every sport represented – all 28.  Some sports are covered off by one element in the image e.g. Cycling is also Triathlon and running shoes also cover a couple of sports.

Which were the hard ones to do?  Rowing was a challenge for us (it was going to be a bike end-on as the Sky Tower but it didn’t look right) then we thought why don’t we use a sculling skiff?  We couldn’t find a model of that – we had to do it from scratch.  There were endless arguments about the Cloud – we used bike helmets which do approximate to the right shape even though they don’t look exactly like the City. 

I hope you all agree this is a wonderful piece of work – congratulations to Barfoots team and also to all the competitors.

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