Skyjacking The Ryder Cup

Paddy Power take Twitter to the Skies


Taylor Herring were engaged by Paddy Power to handle all media relations around their Ryder Cup Sky Tweeting stunt.

The project would deliver the world’s first ‘sky tweet’ campaign, supporting Team Europe at the Ryder Cup golf tournament.


In the week before the tournament American Captain Davis Love III had stoked the flames for a fiery confrontation, stirring up U.S. fans to deliver the loudest frenzy ever seen at the tournament.

Paddy Power responded with an audacious plan to redress the balance for Team Europe, involving creating giant fan tweets in the sky, visible from over 20 miles, designed to rival any ground-level heckles.

Their twitter feed called on European supporters to submit messages with the hashtag ‘goeurope’, a selection of which would be ‘sky-written’ by stunt pilots flying at 10,000ft in the world’s first Twitter campaign of its kind.

How It Was Done

Click the video to play...

Click HERE to see a Spherical Image of the Tweets

Groundbreaking technology was used ‘post’ 60 tweets across the Illinois skies throughout the weekend’s golfing action.

Each individual character is a staggering 200ft taller than the newly installed Shard skyscraper in London. 

The aerial team craft the messages directly over the course but above restricted airspace to ensure the display is entirely inaudible to players yet highly visible to the 40,000 fans attending the tournament, plus the millions of TV viewers watching from across the globe.

The computer-controlled messages were delivered by five stunt planes flying in formation wing to wing and spelling out each character of the message with a vapour trail that is turned on and off as letters are built.

Watch the moment when Rory McIlroy sees the messages in the sky at the Ryder Cup in Medinah.

Computerised output controls the messages in the same way an ink jet printer forms its letters. Each message took around 90 seconds to form and spanned over 5 miles wide.


source: PR Week

Millions of Ryder Cup viewers enjoyed clips of the witty sky-writing at regular intervals over the weekend's television coverage.

Coverage highlights have so far included the BBC, The Sun, Daily Mail, Guardian, Independent, Huffington Post, MSN, Yahoo and Sports Illustrated.

The Europeans, inspired by their messages in the sky, went on to clinch victory from the Americans!

As a finale to the stunt Paddy Power created a giant message made up from all of the twelve European players' names - listing Seve as the 13th man to make it a record-breaker.

The full text took up approximately 70million sq ft of sky, designed to break the current record by at least 10million sq ft, and could be seen for 20 miles.

Sky-tweeting became the most successful golf ambush of all time, surpassing everyone's expectations and delivering on every objective.

The skywriting was featured by over 300 media publications globally and thousands of online titles. The campaign directly tied into the famous European comeback (and resultant win) and was cited by two of the players live on radio and social media as having helped inspire them to victory.

Unbelievably the skywriting generated a combined total of over 10 hours of live TV coverage being featured heavily by both Sky Sports across Europe and CNN in the States.

The 'do it for Seve' skytweet was picked by both broadcasters as part of a highlights loop that ran every 15 minutes throughout the coverage of the tournament. Both TV stations captured players visibly effected by the skywriting including the European Ryder Cup captain Olazabal looking up at the skywriting in tears.

Even more remarkably the BBC captured two of the European players on course reacting to the skywriting, with the world's number one golfer about to go out to play being filmed asking his caddy to get his iphone out of his golf bag to photograph and share our advert.

Business outcome

The campaign trended twice on Twitter over the course of the competition, driving mentions of Paddy Power to 68,000 – three times more than in an average month.

Paddy Power also increased its social footprint by 3.6% with 2,000+ new Twitter followers and 5,000+ new Facebook followers. The campaign received widespread media exposure estimated at a value of £4.5M featuring in 10 hours of official Sky and NBC TV Cup coverage and appearing across the UK’s national press.

The result was 79,000 tweets across two days using #GoEurope, of which 60 – deliberately chosen for their cheeky nature - were shown in the sky, including ‘Mrs Dufner is hot’ (the wife of a US player) and ‘anyone seen Tiger?’

Most importantly of all however the 2012 Ryder Cup generated more revenue for Paddy Power than any previous competition in the Company’s 24-year history, including the 2006 Cup held in its native Ireland.

The campaign now officially ranks as one of the most commercially successful stunts Paddy Power has ever attempted and has set the benchmark to which all future stunts will be judged. Although with one of the European players tweeting an image to his 450,000 followers thanking Paddy Power for helping generate the victory, it really is a hard act to follow.

Previous Paddy Power Campaigns

Taylor Herring have been working with Britian's leading bookmaker for the past 12 months.

We've devised or managed a whole range of high profile campaigns focussed on the main events of the sporting calendar including The Ryder Cup, Euro 2012, The Olympics and Cheltenham Festival.