Golf is a very popular game. But despite the massive following the sport attracts globally, there is still a perception that golf is somehow not as "sexy" as other sports, and that it lacked the glamour or skill of football or tennis. The European Tour needed to challenge this perception, and embarked on a campaign to make golf exciting for everyone, not just the fans.
The European Tour hosts golf tournaments across the globe, with courses so varied that for a golfer to really succeed they need a special combination of imagination and shot making ability; hence the campaign idea: "See Every Shot Imaginable".
In a carefully planned 11-camera shoot, with no stopping or re-taking (the shoot was live from the minute the golfers left the car to the end of the challenge), "Gong" shows four European Tour pros trying to skim a ball 200 yards across a lake to hit a floating 9 inch gong. It was filmed two days before the start of the Irish Open, in a picturesque area near Killarney, called The Gap of Dunloe. The players attempting this first challenge were
Ryder Cup vice-captain Paul McGinley, David Howell, Rhys Davies and Marcel Siem.
Saatchi & Saatchi actively seeded this content through social media platforms to target both broad and core audiences without any initial media spend. Through the quality of the content and connecting to key online conversations around golf and sport, "Gong" quickly became a viral hit.
With a powerful idea at the heart of the campaign, the focus was on creating content so compelling, people couldn't help but share it. For this reason it was essential that Gong was 100% authentic, with no post-production trickery. As well as the winning shot, viewers could also experience the humorous failed attempts and the golfers' genuine reactions.
The film captured imagination and sparked a renewed appreciation for the incredible golfing feats achieved by the pros on the European Tour every year by driving people to view the extraordinary archive reels featured on www.everyshotimaginable.com. These include one golfer playing a shot from up a tree and another bouncing a ball off the wall onto the green.
Both Gong and the archive highlights have sparked over 500 viewer comments showing a change in the way people think about golf and their associations with the Tour. Gong is the first in a series of incredible golfing stunts that will test even the most experienced golfing pros. The next, hotly anticipated instalment is due out later this year.
To date (September 2010) there have been more than 1.94 million views on the Every Shot Imaginable YouTube channel. The content has been independently re-posted in 20 countries and continues to spread globally, crossing multiple audiences with appearances on viral video websites like ebaumsworld, football club supporter sites, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Eurosport, NPR, MSN, NY Daily News, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Los Angeles Times and the Guardian. An independent site has offered a download of the video for mobile phones.