When South Africa's premier triple-refined, pure sunflower cooking oil, Sunfoil, announced its sponsorship of test cricket in South Africa in 2011, they certainly turned heads. Over the past three years its sponsorship awareness levels have grown significantly and now the brand is making waves on social media site Twitter.
Through-the-line agency 34 is responsible for the activation of Sunfoil's sponsorship rights and as part of the company's strategy, created @SunfoilCricket, taking the sizzling action beyond the stadium into the Twittersphere.
"34 knew it would be crucial to generate content that was far from the norm, offering more than just score updates," explains Hilton Cairns, marketing manager for Sunfoil at Willowton Group. "The act of watching live sport is changing, and fans engage on multiple levels simultaneously - from watching live in the stadium or on TV, to following the social commentary with other fans, brands and players on social media. We wanted Sunfoil to be part of that conversation too."
34 took a witty, light-hearted approach to @SunfoilCricket's social media feed, whilst picking up on the nuances of test cricket. "Much like our in-stadium activation plan, our biggest aim has been to entertain cricket fans and put the brand at the centre of test cricket culture in South Africa," says Grant Hillary, MD of 34 Cape Town. "It's been fantastic to watch our engagement levels grow and watch @SunfoilCricket become part of the social cricket conversation."
The results speak for themselves.
In the 2013/2014 summer test cricket season against India and Australia, @SunfoilCricket more than doubled its followers on Twitter. The increase in conversation resulted in mentions being tripled and produced just short of 500 million opportunities to see in the Twittersphere - 1500% up on the previous season.
The numbers were vindicated as both the handle, @SunfoilCricket
, and the Sunfoil cricket campaign tagline, #NowWereCooking
, trended nationally on a number of occasions throughout the season.
"The most impressive part of our efforts is that our social media growth is 100% organic. It's a result of a well-thought-out content strategy and an unrivalled passion for, and understanding of, test cricket," adds Cairns. "We're looking forward to taking our social media strategy to the next level, as we further entrench ourselves in South African test cricket."