Marketing Pokerstars Usain Bolt

PokerStars and Gravity Road feature Usain Bolt and Kevin Hart in #Gameon campaign


By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

June 30, 2017 | 4 min read

Online poker site PokerStars and London-based creative agency Gravity Road are pitting comedian (and frequent PokerStars promoter) Kevin Hart and Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt in a social media battle.

Usain Bolt for PokerStars

Usain Bolt

#GameOn sees the two superstars face off in a battle of wits. As they take each other on, they will use the metrics of social media as their scorecard to allow fans to decide who wins each of their social beefs, culminating in a battle at the poker table in the Bahamas in January 2018.

In the campaign, which launches today, Bolt and Hart’s #GameOn battle has all of the hallmarks of a title fight, but this time it’s a battle of the brains rather than a physical duel, including the reading of people, bluffing and risk management. The site's Facebook page has a video of the two planning their strategies.

The world record breaker and the comic’s rivalry started four years ago when they raced each other on the basketball court at an NBA All-Star Celebrity Game – only for Hart to outwit Bolt. Now they will battle it out on social media and use their followers to determine who will be the winner.

The two are already at it on their social channels, with Bolt calling out the “little man” on Twitter.

Hart counters right back with his own Twitter jab.

Kevin Hart taunt

#GameOn follows PokerStars’ highly successful #raiseit campaign, which saw sports superstars Neymar da Silva Santos Junior and Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, and then Cristiano Ronaldo and Dwyane Wade, battle it out to showcase their impressive tricks and skills, as they took it in turns to #raiseit to the next level.

“Usain and Kevin represent two of the most popular personalities on social media, each with unique characteristics and loyal worldwide fans,” said director of poker marketing at PokerStars Vadim Soloveychik. “It’s the fast vs the funny. The gloves are off and it’s about to go down. There can be only one winner and it will take a smart, shrewd, maverick mind to win this battle.”

PokerStars’ utilized both its in-house marketing services team and Gravity Road in developing the campaign.

Gravity Road founding partner, Mark Boyd, added: "Social media likes a battle between favorite celebrities. #GameOn builds on that social behavior, with an idea designed to work organically. Many brands treat social media as a collection of consumers and not audiences. That understanding of what people want to spend time with is hard baked into the #GameOn idea. Usain and Kevin are natural competitors and are already getting worked up about this. So who knows how it will end.”

Gravity Road was appointed by PokerStars last year, following a competitive pitch, to increase the brand’s visibility and engagement across social platforms and drive customer acquisitions.

Marketing Pokerstars Usain Bolt

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