Play the World

I have always enjoyed watching football, unusually perhaps as I am a girl (the lack of queues at the female toilets at Stamford Bridge is something of a blessing). However, one of things I really like most about the sport is the chat – where else do you so thoroughly scrutinise a game, make predictions and defend a bunch of eleven men that you have never even met? It is this sociability and group camaderie which I believe make it the most popular sport in the UK, and it is these traits that AKQA built on with their “StarPlayer” app for Heineken.

StarPlayer was launched in April this year. It is a live football game, which allows players to predict what will happen at key moments in UEFA Champions League matches to score points – a test of their footie know-how, as well as their intuition. Key moments include forecasting the outcome of corners, free kicks and penalties by choosing between a number of options, with different points awarded depending on each event’s likelihood. The result being a competitive, social scramble to win badges, share their skills on Facebook or top the league against their friends. StarPlayer therefore ingeniously utilises the growing ‘dual screen’ habit amongst audiences – the tendency to watch TV while also chatting with mates via social media networks, while providing real-time information that engages its audience. I like it because it makes watching your own team lose less of a disaster (you may well have predicted those failed corners), while becoming a fun, all-inclusive mechanism for those watching at home or away. In other words, Heineken does all to impress. Apart from that potential mishap when you miss that crucial goal because, woe betide, you were glued to your iPhone.

The app proved a Champions League style success – in three games, it was downloaded 30,000 times and engaged each user for 29 minutes on average. AKQA also scored as StarPlayer won a Gold Cyber Lion – one of five Cannes Lions that it received in total in 2011, and thereby contributing to the agency being bestowed the grand award of Campaign’s Digital Agency of 2011.


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