It’s mid August, the new NFL season is just a few weeks away and DraftKings is leveraging excitement around the upcoming 2017/18 NFL season with a new campaign called ‘Play’ linked to a ‘Billion Dollar Line-up’ challenge.

Which, as the name suggests, offers American Football fans an opportunity to win $1bn.

Fantasy football fan leagues are a huge parallel strand of the season and the NFL’s official fantasy sports partner DraftKings gears up for kick-off with a new challenge promoted via a blended positioning campaign and billion dollar prize incentive to entice gridiron fantasy fans to its gaming platform.

Launched on 14 August during ESPN’s Fantasy Football Marathon with a lead spot called ‘Play’ that features original football footage (shot by cameras placed on the pitch to get into the action), an inspirational tone and invitational call to action.

The theme for ‘Play’ is “You don’t just want to watch; you want to play.”

The follow up creative execution is more light-hearted and far more eclectic.

Called ‘Earnings Dysfunction’, it features an eccentric character named Dr Aftkings who diagnoses fans who don’t have enough fantasy sports in their lives.

The Dr Aftkings spot aims to educate fans about the benefits of DraftKings one-week fantasy football.

The ‘Play DraftKings’ free $100K contest week 1 competition is also being promoted across the brand’s other digital channels and social platforms – including Twitter.

Entries will be limited to one per person, with a maximum number of total entries capped at five million.

It is free to play and open to residents across the US, Canada (excluding Quebec), the United Kingdom and Germany.

“For the last five NFL seasons, DraftKings has led the way in innovation and breakthrough ideas creating the game inside the game that only daily fantasy sports can provide,” says Janet Holian, chief marketing officer at DraftKings.

“This year, the Billion Dollar Line-up is the ultimate opportunity for players to test their skills and kick off the new NFL season with the potential to win $1bn.”

As for that headline-grabbing $1bn prize itself, DraftKings will calculate the ‘perfect lineup’ by working out all the potential, valid team selection combinations given the NFL week one results (working under the usual salary cap and roster restrictions).

The perfect line-up will be defined as ‘the highest possible scoring lineup’.

According to DraftKings, the $1bn prize payout has actually been guaranteed by a global consortium of insurance companies which combined are worth more than $250bn.

“Our new NFL creative is designed to drive acquisition by bringing to life our brand positioning – The Game Inside the Game,” says DraftKings SVP of brand and creative Don Lane.

“The campaign highlights how DraftKings makes sports better by bringing fans closer to the games they love.”

This is the first marketing initiative under Lane, who recently joined DraftKings following a 21-year stint at agency Arnold Worldwide.


This is also the first DraftKings campaigns since its proposed merger with FanDuel was called off after it seemed likely that the FTC would block the tie-up.

What better way to change the brand’s narrative than a $1bn prize?

After all, who doesn’t love a campaign created to drive engagement and incentivised through an eye watering prize? (Even if the two lead spots are so different and disconnected in terms of tone and creative approach).

Of course, incentivisation can be a tricky business in driving engagement and participation.

Marketers are often asking themselves whether the chance to scoop a signed t-shirt or win a branded ball will be sufficient to generate sufficient participation.

But $1bn?


That should do the trick right!

Unless, of course, you think like we do and think it is simply too unbelievable to be a realistic proposition.

Nope, we still prefer the ever so slightly more real lure of the paradise desert island on offer in Adidas’ prize-led 2016 NFL combine campaign.


Draft Kings