Irish betting firm Paddy Power used the 2012 Ryder Cup as an opportunity to expand its business online and reinforce its mischievous brand values. The event was dominated by big budget sponsors and Paddy Power only had a budget of £150,000, so it hit upon the idea of creating the world’s first sky tweet campaign.
In conjunction with agency Curb, Paddy Power hired five stunt planes to fly at 10,000ft above the Medinah Country Club golf course and write 60 tweets of support with plane vapour over two days. The 1,250ft characters were visible across a 20-mile radius and to 500 million TV viewers.
The campaign trended on Twitter, enabling Paddy Power to increase its Twitter followers by 2,000 and Facebook fans by 5,000, as well as accelerating its growth in online customers.
Twitter and Facebook followers, as well as fans of Team Europe, were encouraged through print and radio ads to tweet messages of support for the European players using the hashtag #GoEurope. Rather than generic messages, they were deliberately cheeky, including tweets such as ‘’Mrs Dufner is hot’’ (referring to the wife of a US player).
The sky tweets got a total of 2.5 hours of airtime on Sky Sports and NBC Sports and 173 pieces of coverage were achieved both sides of the Atlantic.
It generated more revenue for Paddy Power than any previous competition in its 24-year history. The campaign was named best Live PR Event at the PRWeek Awards 2013.