Heineken has a ball on O’Connell Bridge

Social media was awash over the weekend with footage of a giant rugby ball on top of O’Connell Bridge House  in Dublin. The footage of a 30-metre ball was viewed countless times within a few hours of going live. However, the ‘installation’, which was shared on social media by content creators Paul Olima and comedian Shane Todd, never existed.

Rather, it was a clever use of augmented reality (AR) technology.

The tech involved shooting iPhone videos of Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge House from various vantage points around the city, which created a sense of authenticity. The ball was modelled and brought to life using graphics software. By using  atmospheric lighting, the ball was made to look as if it were on the roof of the building, 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 supposed date.


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).

The giant Heineken rugby ball is now going on tour.

Fans are invited to share their own picture of the ball, in a location of their choice, using a specially-created Instagram filter and to tag @heinekenireland and @europeanrugbychampionscup to be in with a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Heineken Champions Cup final this Saturday in the Aviva Stadium.

Entries are open until Wednesday, May 17.

The campaign was staged by Thinkhouse.

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