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PokerStars doubles down on social video after Cristiano Ronaldo worldwide success | The Drum

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Paying the world’s best football to appear in viral-baiting, social videos promoting poker might seem like a misguided attempt to woo younger players but it seems PokerStars may have had the last laugh.

Social video has piqued the interest of the gambling brand after posts featuring Cristiano Ronaldo garnered a level of attention that would make his main sponsor Nike jealous. Videos with more than 180 million views in seven months would make any marketer sit up, particularly when 95% of those were effectively through people sharing PokerStars’ videos, putting it among the esteemed group of John Lewis, Red Bull and more as the only brands to have managed to rack up over 100 million organic views online.

The secret of the brand’s success is twofold: the first being that there’s nothing like a social media spat to win people’s attention: the second being that while influencers and niche targeting are the du jour for many marketers now, bigger is better. Combined, the insights led PokerStars and agency Gravity Road to concoct the #RaiseIt campaign, whereby Ronaldo and well known basketball player Dwayne Wade responded to challenges from each other, which quickly descended into the two performing all manner of flicks and tricks in a carefully-staged game of one-upmanship.

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