O2 launches 'world's first live ad' powered by 5G

Brand shot live ad during England's defeat of Argentina in Rugby World Cup.

O2 launched the world's first live ad powered by 5G during coverage of Saturday's England versus Argentina match in the Rugby World Cup.

To promote its 5G mobile internet coverage launching this month, the telecoms company broadcast the live 30-second spot on ITV. It was led by ITN and VCCP, O2's ad agency was also involved.

Broadcast from four O2 venues across the country (Birmingham, Bristol, London and Oxford) on 5 October, the ad showed England fans screaming wildly at the camera alongside footage of "real-time fan reactions". 

Footage of the matchday atmosphere was captured from the venues and sent back to ITN studios in London via O2’s 5G network.

For an ad to be classed as "live" on TV, the footage can be shot no more than five minutes before it airs, so a superfast mobile network such as 5G is required to transfer high-definition video footage.

The cameras were 5G "bonded", meaning each camera had a bonded cellular pack attached to ensure the feed did not fail. This video fed back to the 5G modem at each venue and was then sent back to ITN to be edited.

O2 has been the England rugby team's commercial sponsor since the sport became professional in 1995. On Saturday, England defeated Argentina 39-10 and qualified for the quarter-finals.

Kelly Williams, managing cirector, commercial, at ITV, said: "The power of live TV to bring people together is unparallelled in the advertising industry and we are really excited about this O2 5G live ad, which amplifies both the incredible emotion that a major live event on ITV can generate and the new technology opportunities around TV advertising."

The live ad was directed by Nick Pinn through ITN Productions. Team O2 (part of Havas) handles O2's media planning and buying and James Rafter and Myles Vincent were the creatives at VCCP.