Captain Risky stunt takes brand integration to another level

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 14 January 2016

We've seen him crash the Logies and teach stranded celebs how to do challenges on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, but few would even think about attempting Captain Risky's latest stunt.

On Monday, Budget Direct's bearded daredevil crashed the Fast 4 Tennis tournament to test his wits and agility against some of the best tennis players in the world.

The challenge: to avoid being hit by serving tennis aces Lleyton Hewitt and Nick Kyrgios (the latter clocking speeds of 210kmh earlier in the evening).

To his credit, Captain Risky managed to avoid most of the punishment dished out, even if his lapel mic didn't fare as well.

While the stunt appeared impressive courtside, AdNews can reveal it was not as 'risky' as the captain would have you believe.

“What you see and how it was made to look are two different things,” Budget Direct director of marketing and digital Jonathan Kerr says.

“Hewitt and Kyrgios hammed it up beautifully for us. We said to them, 'aim to just miss his feet'. They're the world's best tennis players and can put a ball anywhere.”

Budget Direct was the major sponsor of the Fast 4 Tennis event, which drew a crowd of about 11,000 at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, including this reporter. The tournament featured the Aussie pair against world stars Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils in short-form matches.

The integrated sponsorship package included courtside branding, TV adverts and crowd interaction. For example, whenever a player challenged a line decision, the crowd determined the call by holding up coloured discs that were tallied using Hawk-Eye technology - all brought to you by the insurance firm.

But the 'star' of the show (with apologies to 14-time grandslam winner Nadal) was Captain Risky.

“He's an amazing athlete,” Kerr fawns. “He was one of about 90 people who attended the auditions for the role in Australia and the US. First and foremost, he's a really good actor and when we did the casting we said we needed someone athletic and willing to push the envelope.”

Budget Direct worked with Channel Seven and Tennis Australia to develop ideas on how to involve Captain Risky in the tournament.

But does his hairbrained stunts actually improve the image of the brand?

Budget Direct figures, which measured public perceptions nine months into the campaign, suggest Captain Risky is more than a safe bet.

Advertising recognition levels increased 30.6% and perceptions that the insurer is trustworthy (41.6%) and is innovative (33%) also improved.

“This guy is loved across Australia and we're going to make him available if the organisers want to use him to lift the content of the show,” Kerr says.

“He was probably the biggest celebrity in I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here last year.”

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