Short List
Product / ServiceSTATE OF ORIGIN
CategoryA11. Sports
EntrantVML Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Idea Creation VML Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Production VML Sydney, AUSTRALIA


Name Company Position
Aden Hepburn VML Sydney Executive Creative Director
Matt Geersen VML Sydney Creative Director
David DiVeroli VML Sydney Strategy Director
Sean Vrabel VML Sydney Copywriter
Natasha Howard VML Sydney Producer
Jamie Muscat VML Sydney Designer
John Reyes VML Sydney Designer
Jarrad Collings VML Sydney Art Director
Matt Sterne VML Sydney Art Director
John Gault VML Sydney Copywriter
John Gault VML Sydney Copywriter

The Campaign

Traditional memorabilia is a mass-produced, highly commoditized element of professional sports. Items barely feel the scratch of a pen, let alone the blood, sweat and tears of the players they represent. Additionally, the majority of sports memorabilia is reserved for exclusive auctions, meaning true fans never get the opportunity to see it, let alone own it. So we created Instabilia. Instant memorabilia created in real-time, live as the action unfolds on the field. During the NRL State of Origin, we captured and immortalized every key moment of Australia’s biggest game, turning them into one-of-a-kind pieces of Instabilia that fans could own, all within seconds of it happening on the field. Complete with mud, sweat, grass stains and all, Instabilia is more than just memorabilia, it’s a genuine piece of football history, telling the story behind pivotal moments of the game that’s commonly referred to in Australia as ‘Sports greatest rivalry’.

Creative Execution

We built a social command center inside the stadium, and as every key moment of the game unfolded, our team sprung into action. We identified items that fans would love to own – headgear from a heavy tackle, a kicking tee from a decisive conversion, or a corner post a player crashed through to score for their team. A team of motion designers created videos on the fly, telling the story behind each item to generate conversation, while copywriters crafted Facebook posts, tweets and eBay listings simultaneously. Within minutes our videos were broadcast across social media, driving fans to a live eBay auction where they could bid to own the items – all before the next commercial break could go to air. Each item required minimal media investment, organically reaching hundreds of thousands of people within minutes thanks to high relevance to the online conversation at that moment.

Instabilia achieved fantastic results, gaining national media attention across a number of high profile sports news websites, as well as coverage on one of Australia’s largest television networks, Channel 9, during their weekly NRL program. Our live social content gained extraordinary reach with minimal media investment, reaching hundreds of thousands of State of Origin fans within minutes of the post going live. Engagement with the posts continued for several days beyond the event, as fans battled it out to own their favourite piece of Instabilia. Best of all, our Instabilia sold for up to 12 times more than its traditional ‘official’ memorabilia counterparts, helping to raise much needed funds for the NRL’s partner charity, Lifeline.

Instabilia is relevant for Entertainment as it places an entirely new spin on fan engagement within the context of live broadcasts. It's been demonstrated that up to 87% of fans use a second screen during live sporting event. We've taken that existing behaviour a step further by not just allowing them to discuss the games biggest moments, but actually owning key items within seconds of them unfolding on in front of them on live tv.

The NRL State of Origin combines the best players from two states, much like an All Star game, and attracts two key audiences: - Hardcore rugby league fans who follow club games every week. State of Origin is their pinnacle event each year. - Casual fans who emerge during the State of Origin, to cheer for their home State. Given the teams represent two neighboring states, an element of bragging rights between the teams is invoked, creating a mass conversation across social channels that dwarfs the live national TV coverage. Our approach was to capitalize on both casual and hardcore fans’ passion for their respective teams and states, by creating topical moments in social that would extend the reach of the game beyond the 80 minutes of playing time.