Social media fans caught off guard by giant Heineken® ball, but all is not as it seems!
Social media fans caught off guard by giant Heineken® ball, but all is not as it seems!

Social media was awash over the weekend with footage of a giant rugby ball perched on top of O’Connell Bridge House (the iconic Heineken® building) in Dublin. The footage of a massive rugby ball that appeared to watch over the city was viewed hundreds of thousands of times within a few hours of going live. Heineken® can reveal that the “installation”, which was shared on social media by well-known content creators like Paul Olima and comedian

Shane Todd, never actually existed but was a clever use of AR technology to drive excitement around the Heineken® Champions Cup Final, which will take place in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 20th May.

The 30-metre long rugby ball that left social media users perplexed at the weekend, was created using clever, cutting-edge, creative technology.

First, by shooting iPhone videos of Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge House from various vantage points around the city, this created immediately a sense of authenticity. The ball was then modelled and brought to life using the newest graphics software and by incorporating atmospheric lighting, the ball was made to look as if it were on the roof of the building, perfectly matching the lighting of the footage. Once this was achieved, the frames were rendered and composited together in a way that achieved a gritty, phone footage effect delivering ‘footage’ of the stunt from multiple angles allowing the questioning public to

question themselves. Before the videos went live, the metadata was changed on all of the videos to align with the date we were pretending they were being shot. That way, the most astute sceptics who decided to download the videos to check their authenticity 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 awesome spectacle garnered plenty of attention over the weekend with Waterford Whispers News proclaiming that the beloved Naas Ball had found itself a rival and declared in “mad jealous” of its Heineken® counterpart. Social media users were quick to comment on the stunt with one proclaiming “Jaysus the size of it. Hope there’s no storms next week!” (@romesrevs) and plenty trying to find out if the ball was in fact real; “I can’t work out if this is real or not!” (@mattamoo), “Is this real?? Walked past this morning and it wasn’t there” (@sizzlethedawg).

Commenting on the activation, Rachael Crawley, Heineken® Ireland said “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.”