The Summer Of Boony

25 Sep 2006

Australian agency Accure together with the ad agency George Patterson Y&R were heavily involved with a promotion for Foster’s Australia called VB Boonanza. This promotion was all about a little interactive talking figurine, the Boony Doll, using technology from Veil Interactive to react to pings from the TV network telecasting the cricket games. The Boony Doll would come to life every time the cricket was on and talk to the consumers at home in his typical Aussie Bloke demeanour.

Each Talking Boony contained a 60 sec sound chip that contained over 35 unique phrases and individual code words.

There were two elements to the technology:

  1. Audio triggers – the figurines would respond to audio triggers transmitted by Nine during the cricket and embedded in TVC’s. Depending on which trigger the figurine heard, it would respond with a particular style of phrase, allowing it interact with what was happening during the cricket. The phrases were grouped; “good shot”, “good ball”, “appeal” and “random silence”. The random silence phrases include comments like “Anyone seen me thongs?” and “I feel like playing totem tennis”.
  2. Pre-programmed phrases – the figurines were timed to power up and down to conserve battery life. They were also designed to come to life at certain times and say a particular phrase such as “Hey get me a VB, the cricket’s about to start” before each innings. They also announced a daily code word during the telecast that consumers could SMS for the chance to win exclusive merchandise.

The idea of a Talking Boony figurine brought the VB Boonanza campaign to life and allowed the idea to flow through to all the other touch points. The campaign was quite successful and took out a promo lion at Cannes as well as various awards in Australia and USA. [see awards here]


The campaign was an equity building piece designed to reinforce the VB brands personality, relevance and positioning across the entire demographic of men aged 18-54yrs, with a particular focus on the 18-24yr age group.

In particular the overall objectives were to:

  • Fully integrate the BTL and ATL activity:
    • In a relevant way that has a strong connection with consumers to the brand
    • In a way that best leverages the cricket sponsorship properties particularly the VB One Day International Cricket Series
  • Create a multi tiered promotion that maximises consumer touch points
  • Present VB in a consistent manner to all consumers and customers nationally
  • Surprise consumers by delivering an Australian first interactive medium
  • Excite the trade during the key consumption period
  • Deliver forward stock weight and visibility in trade
  • Reinforce the evolved brand positioning to demonstrate that VB understands Aussie males better than any other beer

The promotion ran nationwide throughout Channel Nine’s summer telecast of the VB One Day International Series of Cricket 2005/2006.

The campaign integrated the VB Boonanza logo and Talking Boony caricature into the following:

  • Off-Premise Activity – On-pack competition:
    • Win one of three customised Boonanza utes or 90 flat screen TV’s. SMS or 190 the unique code found inside cartons of VB.
    • Monthly prize draws
    • Redeem a Talking Boony (purchase a carton of VB and SMS or 190 your name and address plus the unique code. $5 would be charged to your phone account). Selected bottle shops ran a separate offer whereby consumers could purchase two cartons of VB and receive a Talking Boony instantly.
  • Off-Premise Activity – In-telecast competition:
    • Each day during the VB Series telecast on Channel Nine Talking Boony would announce a code word for consumers to SMS for the chance to win exclusive merchandise. It was timed to coincide with a special TVC
  • On-Premise Activity – Three separate activities that gave consumers the chance to win limited edition Boonanza merchandise including retro One Day Cricket shirts (the same as the figurine), retro caps, retro stubby holders and Boony moustaches. Each state chose the type of promotion they would offer their venues:
    • Scratch & Win card with each VB purchase
    • Match 3 & Win scratch card with each VB purchase
    • Passport – collect stamps with each purchase to receive merchandise

Used channels:

  1. POS – A teaser campaign launched in October with A2 posters appearing in on-premise locations (pubs and clubs). The posters featured a head shot of David Boon from the 80’s beneath the heading “Boony for Prime Minister”. Other POS including posters, counter cards, price boards, wobblers, fridge decals and inflatable Boony’s were used to promote the on and off premise activity
  2. CRM – VB’s Shout magazine is sent to loyal VB drinkers and was used to seed the idea of a Talking Boony figurine and promote the on-pack competition
  3. Television – There was a promo TVC that introduced the Talking Boony figurines and how to get one and a VB brand commercial that featured David Boon. Ian Healey was used to front an in-telecast commercial to promote the special prize draw for Talking Boony owners during the cricket
  4. Radio – VB brand featuring Boony, a Talking Boony ad, a promo ad for the on-pack competitions (utes) and two Boony retail ads – promotion of prizes and Talking Boony’s are selling out
  5. Press – Inside Cricket and Ralph magazines used editorial and advertising to introduce the Boony for PM angle and to promote the on-pack competition
  6. Online – was a dedicated microsite housed on the Cricket Australia site featuring details of how to enter the various competitions, redeem a Talking Boony, Temple of Boon downloadable game, animated Desktop Boony
  7. Viral – ninemsn, Ralph and Cric Info web sites
  8. PR – Limited edition push-button Talking Boony’s were produced for the media to allow them to make Boony speak on demand. Foster’s incorporated the promotion imagery into a variety of activities and events including cricket ground signage

Campaign results:

Foster’s commissioned IMI to conduct independent research. The findings included:

  • Exceptional awareness of 68% in all states (High = 35%+)
  • Strong participation across VB loyal, occasional and even non-drinkers – it has brought lapsed users back
  • The concept was most appealing to the two core strategic audiences – loyal drinkers and younger drinkers
  • Strong impact on favourability and future intention to purchase amongst 18-24’s
  • Increase on key brand measures helping to contemporise VB

Other results include:

  • Huge media cut through (300+ pieces of coverage) over a three-month period, excellent representation of key messages and use of stock imagery, strong demand for spokespeople for interviews, hot topic on radio, dozens of figurines posted on eBay (fetching up to $220) and blog entries online
  • Talking Boony figurines sold out in a matter of weeks
  • On-pack competition received high number of entries
  • Delivered Australia-first technology and the opportunity to develop further interactive, mobile and web-based activity around the technology
  • Positive volume uplift
  • Secured prominent floor displays in trade for peak pre-Christmas period

This might look like old news, but Boony and a new mate back are being brought back to life this year for The Ashes Series in Australia. There is now also a very strong English flavour to link the rivalry between the two countries into the campaign. And of course, statistics and results of campaigns someone else has been doing always make marketers really horny. It’s nice to see ‘behind the scenes’ of a successful campaign from someone else. There’s a lot to learn from those results. Nice job from down under, again.

More info:

Boony is back on the Accure agency blog
Boony archive on the agency blog
Agency blog

Many thanks to Donnie Lam!


Posted by Miel Van Opstal in Advertising, Campaigns, Interactive, Marketing


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  1. tim

    November 4, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    boony rocks

  2. Phillip Molly Malone

    November 28, 2006 at 9:57 am

    And the 2006 Boofy Campaign is better again! (Boony + Beefy = Boofy)