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Heineken Stunt Showcases the Giant Rugby Ball that Never Was

With the countdown to Heineken Champions Cup Final in the Aviva Stadium well underway, Heineken pulled off a clever brand stunt that ignited social media and got plenty of fans talking about a mysterious rugby ball that appeared to have landed out of nowhere.

Over the weekend social media was awash with footage of a giant 30m long rugby ball perched on top of O’Connell Bridge House in Dublin (renamed Heineken House). The footage showing the rugby ball was viewed hundreds of thousands of times and widely shared online by a wide range of content creators like Paul Olima, comedian Shane Todd and Waterford Whispers.

Only it never physically happened.

Heineken has since revealed that the “installation” never actually existed and was a clever use of AR technology to drive excitement around this weekend’s final in Dublin between Leinster and La Rochelle.

The 30m long rugby ball was created first by shooting iPhone videos of Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge House from various vantage points around the city, to create a sense of authenticity.  The ball was then modelled and brought to life using the graphic software and by incorporating atmospheric lighting, all to make it look like it was perched regally on top of the iconic Dublin landmark.

Once this was achieved, the frames were rendered and composited together in a way that achieved a gritty, phone footage effect from various angles along Dublin’s Liffey which runs on front of the building.

Before the videos went live, the metadata was changed on all of the videos to align with the date which the clever stunt went live. That way, the most astute sceptics who decided to download the videos to check the metadata were fooled into thinking the videos were filmed the morning they went live, instead of the dates and times they were actually shot on.

The stunt “installation” was delivered by Thinkhouse.

According to Rachael Crawley, Heineken Ireland: “The atmosphere in the city should be electric this weekend and we wanted to kick off the excitement in a unique way. Using clever technology and digital effects, we were able to do that, without ever needing to touch the iconic O’Connell Bridge building. Using this building was a natural option for us – it has been associated with Heineken for years and is a landmark in Dublin city.”

 As part of the countdown to Saturday’s match, the giant Heineken rugby ball is going on tour and fans are invited to share their own picture of the ball, in a location of their choice, using a specially-created Instagram filter and to tag @heinekenireland and @europeanrugbychampionscup to be in with a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Heineken Champions Cup final. Entries are valid until Wednesday 17th May.


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