Video case study: Table Tennis star takes on robot to get 1m views in 2 days

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In March 2014, Industrial robot firm Kuka Robotics ran a new YouTube video campaign, pitting table tennis star Timo Boll against a high speed robot. The teaser trailer for it racked up over a million YouTube views in February, and the full length version eclipsed it. The video has already racked up over 1.2m views on YouTube after just two days online.

The video shows the German sportsman initially losing 6-0 in a fast and furious game until he eventually goes on to win the match, once he realised the robot can’t cope with net calls, awkward bounces and other ping pong quirks.

To be fair to the losing robot, the arm, which goes by the name KR 6 R900 SIXX, was built to package boxes rather than play table tennis.

The ad purports to show a genuine match, but is clearly heavily edited with plenty of slow motion and cuts away from the action- suggesting the game might not exactly pass table tennis regulations.

The match came about after Boll was appointed ambassador for the robotics firm, which is soon to open a factory in Shanghai, thanks to his table tennis celebrity in China.

"Wherever I go, people talk to me and bring up the movie," Boll said. "The campaign is more than just fun; it promotes the sport of table tennis worldwide."

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