REVEALED: How the European Tour put together that Mannequin Challenge video


The Mannequin Challenge has become the latest trend to take the internet by storm and the European Tour’s effort, featuring golf’s biggest names, is one of the best.

The challenge was started by teenagers from the USA last month and involves peopling uploading videos of themselves and their friends to social media using the hashtag #MannequinChallenge as if they had been frozen in time. Like a game of musical statues.

Plenty of famous faces have got in on the action including Hilary Clinton, the Borussia Dortmund football team, Jamie Vardy and many more.

The Tour joined in at the DP World Championship, and their attempt is by far the best we have seen and involves hundreds of people, from Tour Pros and their Caddies to spectators, as their 2 minute and 12 seconds long video transcends from the locker room, moving outside past security and out onto the practise area.

Here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it yet:

Organising the video would have been a mammoth task, plus the Tour had to teach Padraig Harrington what  the “dab” was; so the question on everyone’s lips is “how did they do it?”.

We found out from the Tour’s Social Media Manager Jamie Kennedy…

Who came with the idea for the video?

We have ideation meetings at least once or twice a week to come up with content and video ideas for all our various platforms. This idea was first pitched about 10 days before the event and we immediately began thinking about how it could work at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Like I said, the timing was perfect.

Who actually knew what the Mannequin Challenge was?

We (the Digital Team) had seen a few videos. We are always monitoring what is going online and having discussions about how we can use various ideas and themes on Tour. This trend came at a perfect time with our season-ending event taking place this week so we thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

You have got lots of golf’s biggest names in the video how enthusiastic about it where they?

Our ideas only work if we get buy-in from the players. As much as possible we want to make them part of the process and put them first. We told the players about it last week in South Africa and right away, many of the players said they were keen. As we got closer to the day and more and more players and caddies found out, word-of-mouth worked its magic and we were very lucky to have so many involved. I think we had about 25 players by the time we shot the final edit. They were great.

Did anyone move?

Well there’s no trickery in the video, what you see is what you get. I have to say it’s amazing it came out so well. We briefed them on staying still and not even moving your eyes if the video comes your way and we were blown away by how well everyone did. Staying still for three or four minutes is harder than you think!

Who was the hardest person to organise?

Honestly, no one. There were so many moving (or not moving!) parts that everyone played an equal role. We knew we wanted Stenson, as Race to Dubai leader, to play the anchor role so we briefed him on what we needed in terms of the finish but other than that, most of the players and poses were improvised. I know Padraig found it hard to maintain the “dab” throughout the entire shoot. It was about 30 degrees celsius, so I don’t blame him. His cameo is one of my favourite moment moments of the video.

How long did it take to put together?

As I said, we had been planning it for a couple of weeks with player involvement from about a week out. On the shoot itself, it took about 30 minutes to get everyone in place and set up.

Which players had the biggest impact?

My favourite part of the whole video is how each player shows their own personality. From Beef’s beard dilemma, Rafa’s magazine article on himself, Wood’s neck joke, Hatton’s club snap, Levy and Jacquelin reading their Guinness World Record in the book, Paddy’s dab, Kaymer’s selfie, Fitzpatrick’s bunker shot, Sergio’s interview, Fleetwood’s collapse and Stenson’s wink, it’s impossible to choose which had the biggest impact. That being said, without that finish from Stenson, it would have been a very different video. He’s just so cool.

How did you manage to do it, was there a signal for everyone to freeze?

Yeah, we used the referees tournament microphones to communicate with five or six members of our team, positioned throughout. Once we were running, we sounded a hooter used to suspend tournament play and everyone paid attention. From then on, the peer pressure felt, to not be the one to mess it up, was more than enough to keep people still.

How many takes did it take to get right?

I should probably say one but truth be told it was three. The first time, the camera played up. The second time, the security guard at the door moved and then it was (literally) a case of third time lucky. I can’t believe we got it all on that shot but like I said, we had 145 people all together and everyone bought in to the idea.

How have players / fans reacted to it?

It’s been amazing. We are constantly trying to appeal to our fans and showcase the personality of our players but we had no idea it would be so popular. So many people commented on our posts with positive comments about the videos and the players It’s been remarkable. The players loved it. I was lucky enough to show it to one or two of them for the first time and seeing how they react to the various sections of the edit is hilarious. Everyone has their own favourite part.

The video is so good how do you top it?

That’s our job. We never settle for long. We’re constantly thinking of new ideas and videos. We want to bring our fans closer than ever to our events and our players and as daunting as it seems to try and top this, it’s a great problem to have. We have another video with Rory coming out on Friday and beyond that I’m sure we’ll outperform the Mannequin Challenge. Just don’t ask me how, yet.

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