Giant Inflatables has a 12-year history working with the AFL, creating interactive and display works for the League and its subsidiaries. With AFL highly anticipated “Gather Round”, in which all Round Five matches of the AFL season are held in Adelaide, planned for April 2023, the AFL was looking for a unique and impactful way to create hype for the event.
With Gather Round fast approaching, the AFL reached out to Giant Inflatables in February 2023 to work with them on another project, an unmissable display that could be placed in a yet-to-be-decided high-traffic area over the week of Gather Round in April. The idea was to create a unique spectacle drawing public attention to the event in the city, creating hype on social media and providing an irresistible photo opportunity.
The inflatable needed to be huge, AFL themed, portable, and branded to tick all of the AFL’s boxes for the activation.
The ten-meter AFL Ball, or “Sherrin”, was created using a lightweight digitally printed PVC material built to the AFL and Gather Round specifications to maintain strong brand consistency with the country-wide advertising campaign or Gather Round. The larger-than-life ball weighed only 120 kg, making it easy to set up, pack down and transport.
The team at Giant Inflatables set up the ball on a lawn of artificial turf and fenced off with picket fencing, creating the ideal photo-op in the heart of Adelaide City,
The weights were placed internally in the base of the inflatable, hidden from view, to reduce the number of external ropes needed.
The base artwork of the inflatable was attached with Velcro to ensure it could be re-branded for use in future events, creating an infinitely reusable asset.
Having worked extensively with the AFL in the past, the Giant Inflatables team had the creative freedom to create the concept. There was little time between the original enquiry and installation day, so two main design concepts were investigated: an AFL Ball and AFL Goals. The footy ball was the favourite choice, given its immense branding potential and dominating presence.
Once the design had been determined, it was agreed that a ten-meter option would strike the most remarkable balance between visual impact, branding, weight, portability, and budget.
Critical aspects of the design process were considering the exterior location of the installation, the weighting requirements and the need for a rapid deflation process to minimize the man hours required to set up and bump out the oversized footy ball.
The Giant Inflatables team installed the ten-meter inflatable AFL Football at Rundle Mall on the 11th of April, and it will remain until the conclusion of the Gather Round on the 17th of April.
Giant Inflatables completed the installation in only two hours. As soon as the ball was inflated, the effect on the public was immediately noticeable, with pedestrians stopping to investigate and take pictures.
It didn’t take long for the hype surrounding the event. Specifically, the giant ball placed in the middle of Adelaide’s busiest public space increased as photos and videos of the ball started to appear on social media with the hashtag #gatherround.
The AFL left very positive feedback in the days after the installation, commenting on the well-planned and executed structure and the immediate effect that the inflatable had on the public.
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