Paddy Power uses TV’s drive to live to help inspire Europe to Ryder Cup victory

  • Bespoke Paddy Power TV content created to encourage viewers of Sky Sports coverage of the Ryder Cup to send their messages of good luck to Team Europe
  • The ‘Help A Yank To Shank’ tweets were relayed in real time and displayed high across the Chicago skyline 
  • Visible for over 20 miles, viewers’ tweets were Team Europe’s 13th man


Prior to the beginning of the 2012 Ryder Cup, American Captain Davis Love III stoked the flames for a fiery confrontation by encouraging U.S. fans to deliver the loudest frenzy ever seen at the tournament

With this firmly in mind Paddy Power, in conjunction with M2M and Crispin Porter + Bogusky, embarked on an audacious plan to redress the balance for Team Europe.

Paddy Power wanted to build on their already formidable reputation as a fun and mischievous brand by creating intrigue and a sense that something big was happening around the competition. 

The main objective was to amplify awareness of the Paddy Power ’Sky Tweet’ Ryder Cup stunt whilst driving active social media participation, empowering viewers to get involved.

And in a way that was:

  • Socially enhancing vs. genuinely disruptive. 
  • Reaching an active social media audience vs. traditional golf audience

The challenge was to create a real time campaign which would transport European fans’ support over to Chicago.  The idea was to utilize a fleet of acrobatic planes to create the world’s highest and largest tweets printed in the Sky to show European support. Each letter would be bigger than the Shard and the sky tweets visible for 20 miles.

The Solution

The key to the success of the campaign was to ensure that there was sufficient activity on twitter using the Paddy Power promoted hashtag ‘#GoEurope’.  TV was the clear choice as the main driver for the campaign for two crucial reasons.  Firstly, they had to build awareness of the stunt amongst a core, highly targeted audience extremely quickly but in addition to that they understood TV’s dominance in its ability to act as a catalyst for online conversations – crucial in order to bring the stunt to life.

TV has become an integral part of the new digital social environment (50% of people using twitter do it while watching TV) and as such the plan was to harness TV’s unique ability to spark online conversations in real time.  TV’s role was essentially to act as a real time audience feedback loop. 

A special ‘help a yank to shank’ TV copy was created specifically and was shown exclusively in the second day’s live Ryder Cup coverage throughout the duration of the day’s play.  The success of the TV campaign relied on secrecy and extremely short lead times (not to mention the weather forecast) and as such M2M worked closely with their partners at Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Sky Media to ensure they were able to place the adverts at exactly the right time for maximum impact.  


From an initial media results perspective, the promoted trend on Twitter delivered 18 million impressions (2.5 x the Twitter norm) over the Saturday and Sunday with a staggering 21% engagement rate. The promoted tweets on Twitter delivered 171k impressions and combined nearly 30k clicks (8.9%) and #GoEurope received 65.5k mentions, and indeed #GoEurope was adopted wholesale by fans as well as sports celebrities Gary Lineker and Austin Healy.

The success of the Ryder Cup sky tweet campaign depended on the USA team and supporters not being aware of what was planned until the messages were actually in the sky. Not being able to pre-promote our intentions TV advertising was critical to amplifying the campaign in real time. Spots in the live broadcast invited golf fans back home to send their messages of support and see them relayed in the sky above Medinah just hours later. Without TV we are convinced that we wouldn’t have seen such incredible levels of engagement with the campaign via social media channels. We like to think the messages of support from the fans helped in some small way to the incredible comeback on Sunday, Rory and G-Mac certainly enjoyed them.

Tom Wyse, Head of Media Paddy Power


Sector: Entertainment & Media

Brand: Paddy Power

Campaign objectives: Drive response

Target Audience: 16-34 Men

Budget: £100 – 500k

Campaign Dates: 1 day

TV Usage: Short spots

Creative Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky

Media Agency:  M2M

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