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Heineken’s “Dual Screen” Mobile Marketing Scores A Goal With Champions League Fans


One the biggest consumer trends in television these days is the rapid growth of the “Dual Screen” experience. In other words, viewers who use a mobile or a PC at the same time as they watch a normal show on TV to augment the TV experience.

Building on this new consumer trend, global beer brand Heineken has launched what they claim to be the first “dual screen” mobile marketing campaign around the 2011 UEFA Champions League tournament.

Heineken’s Starplayer app is a real-time mobile game that gets fans engaged with the brand and their favorite football team at the same time.

“Dual Screen”

Often this “dual screen” mobile or PC-based interaction consists of using a social networking site to facilitate side discussions about the plot or characters on the show. Or perhaps the show provides a website with additional background information about characters, extra pictures, summaries of previous episodes, etc.

And some of the participation numbers are quite large. For example, during the 2011 Oscar presentations, over 1.2 million Tweets were sent about the subject, peaking at a rate of 12, 000 per minute. And even this was eclipsed by the reported 17,000 per minute that were sent during the SuperBowl football match.

Heineken’s Champions League

One of the biggest sporting events of the year in Europe is the UEFA Champions League football (soccer) tournament – a contest that brings together the championship teams from each country’s national league to crown a European champion. The TV audience that watches the Champions League comes from around the world, and is one of the largest sports audiences each year (the Champions League final drew a larger TV audience than the Super Bowl in 2009!).

Heineken has been a major sponsor of the Champions League for many years. This year they teamed up with creative agency AKQA to launch the world’s first social media gaming platform to go along with the 2011 Champions League contest.

StarPlayer: A Real-time game

heineken-app-logo.jpgThe StarPlayer game works in real-time, in other words the actions of the mobile game are synched with the ongoing action of the real football match. Fans watch the football on TV while playing StarPlayer in real-time, anticipating events unfolding on the pitch live and making decisions on what will play out over the next few seconds.

This link to live action is what makes the game so engaging. As you never know what will happen in a live sporting event you have to pay close attention and react in seconds, and so the game shares some of the same sense of excitement as a live match.

To play, you need to login to a UEFA Champions league game. In fact, the StarPlayer app only wakes up about 10 minutes before the actual start time of a match at which point you can login to a game.

Live Game Questions:
Fans are given the chance to earn points throughout the match by correctly predicting the outcome of certain events, such as corner kicks, free kicks, and penalities. They have the choice of predicting a goal, a miss, a save, or a clear.

GOAL button: One of the most difficult options for players is the GOAL button. Players can press this anytime in a match, as soon as they think a goal might be scored. If a goal is scored within 30 seconds, they win extra points.

Bonus Questions: Throughout the match bonus questions test a player’s knowledge of the countries competing in the Champions League. The faster the answer, the more points scored.

It’s Social: And of course, to make the game more enjoyable, scores can be shared over Facebook. And StarPlayer also lets you form your a league of your own friends so that you can compete directly with them during every match.




According to James Hilton, co-founder of AKQA, this app is the most complex the agency has ever created.


To promote StarPlayer, Heineken launched iAD campaign to introduce the game into the UK market. (iAd is Apple’s mobile advertisng network, see more information here.).

iPhones and iPod touch users were able to play a cut-down, demo version of StarPlayer to experience the gameplay before going on to download and play the full game for real. StarPlayer is available for free from the Apple’s iTunes App Store. Heineken plans to release the game for other platforms such as Android in the near future.

heineken-floris.jpgFloris Cobelens, Global Head of Digital at Heineken, commented: “StarPlayer will really change the way in which football fans interact with the UEFA Champions League, creating a more social experience around watching and enjoying the matches. For Heineken to be able to bring the excitement and competition of these premium matches to the actual fingertips of the fans through the cutting edge ‘dual screen’ technology of StarPlayer really showcases our commitment to providing extraordinary innovative and engaging experiences for fans.”

Below is a short video that shows the game in action.

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The future

In conclusion, the growth of tablets and smart phones are fuelling social media around TV programmes and ‘Social TV’ will provide enormous new marketing opportunities for brands and mobile agencies. Event based programmes such as live shows and sporting events, are the first to benefit from this trend.

06.05.2011    Tags: , , ,
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