Virgin Media enlists Mo Farah for sports game

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Built around Virgin’s association with Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, this ad unit was all about speed. Using Say Media's Ad Frames format, the opening unit featured dynamic menu items that raced around a track, compelling the viewer to chase them to investigate. This is a good example of a gaming mechanic employed to drive engagement. Once successful, the participant was rewarded with more Virgin content. This unit also came with a more traditional arcade style game, in which the player raced Mo Farah, reminiscent of the famous mid-80s game, Track & Field which involved bashing alternate buttons on the keyboard furiously to make your athlete run faster.

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Brand: Virgin | Sector: Telecoms | Country: UK | Objective: Build brand engagement, drive sales | Format: Display advertising | Agency/ Partner: Say Media

Campaign Stats

Virgin’s sport-themed game finished well ahead of the 2% click-to-site (CTS) benchmark, with the game element specifically acting as the second highest (28.2%) out of 11 CTS routes behind the header logo.

These case studies show that gaming, and the mechanics of games, are the new creative solution du jour. The term used by those in the know is ‘gamification’, or more painfully, ‘advergaming’, but in truth it’s simply another content solution, and advertisers should consider it as an option, not a mandatory exercise.

Slapping a game into an ad isn’t necessarily going to deliver results. The idea of a brand story is just as important in this respect as it has ever been – the difference here is that by integrating a gaming element, you’re inviting consumers to play an active role in that particular chapter. If consumers are going to take the time to play it, the brand has an obligation to make sure it delivers a meaningful experience.


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