At the recent PromaxBDA Africa Awards, held at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton in November 2015, Johannesburg-based production house Admit One took the gold for Best Sports Campaign. This latest accolade came in recognition of its SuperSport Rugby World Cup promo. Driven by the tagline, ‘Our hearts are in it’, the simple and emotive campaign featured a montage of notables – from international rugby players both past and present, to the likes of Trevor Noah and Princess Charlene of Monaco – simply placing their hands over their hearts in that most recognisable gesture of patriotic commitment.
“There were a lot of eyes on this campaign,” says Admit One executive creative director Henre Pretorius. “For the client, the Rugby World Cup is a major driver for anti-churn and decoder sales. So we put a lot of effort into that. What we wanted was something emotional, something that would stand out from the World Cup clutter. SuperSport had to show, as a broadcaster, how they supported the Boks in a unique way that complemented SA Rugby’s message without just piggybacking off it.”
The crew travelled around South Africa, as well as to the United Kingdom, France and Monaco in order to get all the necessary shots. The logistical and bureaucratic challenges of international travel, as well as scheduling complications, were the most difficult part of the production. With the shots in the can, all that was required to bring the spot to life was a powerful music track, minimal graphics and a skilled editor. The campaign is the epitome of the often-cited, not always fully realised dictum, ‘less is more’.
The conference sessions at PromaxBDA are always primarily concerned with ways of refreshing creativity, finding new ideas, staying relevant. The ‘Our hearts are in it’ campaign proves that there is often no need to overthink it and that the simplest ideas are often the best, provided there is a strong emotional hook for the audience.
“For me the most important consideration is that there should be some kind of truth in what you’re doing,” Pretorius explains. “In any marketing campaign, what you’re trying to do is form a connection with the audience. The only way, to my mind, that an audience connects with something is if there is that central truth, something that speaks to them on the most basic emotional level, copy that makes sense to them. As creatives in the industry, it’s great to look at what the international market is doing and what brilliant new work is out there – but if your audience doesn’t understand your work or doesn’t hook into it, then it’s not going to be a successful campaign, no matter how clever the concept may be. There are a lot of campaigns on at the moment, where you sit there after having seen it and think, ‘what exactly was that trying to say to me?’”
Having sport as a subject makes finding that connection much easier, Pretorius believes, as it inspires responses on the most basic levels of team support and (in this case) national pride. People support their teams with incredible emotional attachment. Once a creative taps into that link between team and supporter, much of the work is already done.
“All aspects of the medium are just tools,” Pretorius concludes. “The copy, the graphics, the performers, the music, the voiceover… We sometimes rely on them too much, they become a crutch. We become more concerned with creating something that is novel just for novelty’s sake, or something that looks good. A good promo doesn’t have to be the slickest, most visually stunning piece as long as it has truth.”