ABOUT THIS ENTRY
To announce their 2020 NFL Schedule across social media, the San Francisco 49ers looked to entertain their fanbase in a unique way, leveraging global interest in a popular TV show.
How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?
This sets a benchmark in terms of quality level, showing that social-first content can meet the highest of content standards across all mediums. Feedback from news outlets reflected the goals -- production quality rivaling a major studio, with the focus of entertaining the fans being front and center. Keeping this high of a standard of content production keeps our industry driving forward, and with engagement metrics being hit as well we'll continue to see investment in this type of content going forward.
Objective: Text/basic graphics of the schedule can be found the moment it's announced by the NFL, so the team wanted to take the opportunity to be artistic and delight their followers rather than just simply detail the list of games. They sought inspiration from a combination of pop culture trends across the content space (traditional and digital, mainstream and niche), with the intent of creating something that would be instantly recognizable -- but with a 49ers twist. Goals included engaging the fanbase, garnering attention/viewership beyond the core fans, and maintaining/furthering their position as a market leader in unique social production.
Strategy & Execution: When concepts were discussed, the favorite right off the bat was to work off the global interest in the HBO show "Westworld", which was nearing the end of its popular third season. Its iconic title sequence features custom renderings of various symbols from the show, with dramatic music and beautiful imagery throughout. Seeing the ties to the "wild west" featured in the show, it was a natural fit.
Partnering with Fresh Tape Media and Wolf Den (a Bay area animation studio), designs and plans were made to create beautiful football animations entirely via CGI, accompanied by team-specific designs related to each opponent in the schedule. It would end, similarly to the show's title sequence finale, with a 49ers helmet emerging from paint/liquid. Rather than be explicit with each game's time/dates, it was left similarly to the Westworld intro; each team-related graphic was displayed along with the week they were playing, acting as an easter egg for viewers to figure out.
At around 90 seconds, the final video was completed once the team received their final schedule, then subsequently released across social channels and broadcast TV. It gave fans what they crave: something familiar, with a new spin.
The video was widely acclaimed across social channels and news outlets. Articles discussing creative executions of schedule releases ranked it either the top of their list (https://www.si.com/nfl/2020/05/08/2020-nfl-schedule-reveal-team-videos) or as one of the top in the league (ex: https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/redskins/best-2020-nfl-schedule-reveals-social-media). With over 550k views and 40 likes, it was one of the highest engaged pieces in the league. Feedback on social platforms and recognition in broadcast (featured on GMFB) was positive and enthusiastic.
San Francisco 49ers
Fresh Tape Media
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