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The Beautiful Game football ballet wins Media Guardian Innovation Award

The Beautiful Game football ballet wins Media Guardian Innovation Award

Last year, Resonate was tasked with re-launching The New Football Pools while marking its 85th anniversary. 

Consumer PR specialist Resonate has just been awarded the Media Guardian’s MEGA award for PR Campaign of the Year with their headline grabbing campaign for The New Football Pools.

Tasked with creating a campaign to take the Football Pools out of the sports pages and into the front half of the newspaper Resonate created The Beautiful Game, an awe-inspiring fusion of football and ballet choreographed and performed by professional ballerinas from English National Ballet.

The agency was to use the opportunity to create re-consideration of the brand, extending awareness of The New Football Pools (TNFP) beyond core users to a new and wider audience

The brief 

- Create an activity/campaign that would take TNFP off the sports pages and into the front half of the newspaper

-       Raise awareness of the fact that £1.1 billion has been donated by The Pools to various good causes, especially the arts, over the 85 years

The solution

The Football Pools is a National institution, part of the social fabric, something that was once a national pastime.  In its heyday, dreams of life changing financial gain hinged every week on those Saturday tea time football results for over a third of the population – but that is very much in the past.

We knew that we needed something completely different and surprising to make people re-consider the brand and shock them out of that great, but distracting, nostalgia.

The ‘good causes’ and ‘arts’ message was what led us to our eventual creative idea – a unique fusion of the Arts and Football – a footballing ballet.  Ballet and football are not easy bedfellows and it is precisely this conflict which was the power behind the idea – love it or hate it, it’s provocative. 

Because of this tension, it was vital that whatever we produced had to look great – anything less than a brilliant execution would make the performance an easy target for derision.  This is what led us to the English National Ballet (ENB), one of the best ballet companies in the world.

We commissioned the ENB to create a celebration of everything that is great about football – the beauty of the ‘The Beautiful Game’.  The interpretation would include iconic football moments from the past 85 years - marking TNFP’s 85th Anniversary as a driving force behind the UK footballing community and a showcase of its contribution to the arts.

We also knew that it would generate great content, if we filmed the performance we could put it up on-line and seed it.  A huge part of the TNFP re-launch was the ability to now play all of the games on-line.  

We wanted to include the fans, so a poll was put up on the TNFP website asking football fans to vote for their 10 most iconic moments in footballing history.  Over 20,000 people voted, giving us a user generated outline for the performance – the fans gave us the 10 moments that fans wanted to see interpreted in dance.

Through eight weeks of refining, rehearsals and lots of re-writes we finally arrived at a 12 minute performance.  This included, Maradona’s Hand of God, Gordon Banks’ amazing 1970 World Cup save and Beckham’s heart stopping free kick against Greece were all enacted in this innovative piece of performance art.

The resulting performance was staged at two theatres that had benefited from funding by the pools, a press preview at the Unicorn Theatre in London and a public premiere at the Everyman in Liverpool – the original home of The Pools and appropriately 2008’s European Capital of Culture.

Above the inherent uniqueness of the concept, the innovation of the idea was the creation of a property which successfully appealed to two often divergent audiences – football fans and patrons of the arts.  Correspondingly this greatly widened the opportunities to create coverage and awareness of the TNFP re-launch, resulting in success well beyond the back pages.


·       Both events communicated the 85 year anniversary/£1.1billion to good causes through the performance/the Q&A as well as the message included within coverage

·       To date the ballet has generated 84 pieces of coverage. PR value of the coverage generated by the campaign is £1.1 million

·       Two successful events attended by more than 600 people

·       The partnership with ENB ensured a fantastic 12 minute performance that appealed to both the existing audience as well as non-football and non ballet fans, therefore extending awareness to a wider audience

Print Highlights included 

A spread in The Guardian

2 half page features in The Independent

Page 3 of the Daily Telegraph

2 Big pieces in The Times

A feature in Metro

Features in the Liverpool Echo (the home town of the New Football Pools)

Broadcast Highlights included

BBC Breakfast News

BBC North West Tonight

Football Focus on BBC

Sky Sports News,


TV in Spain, Asia, Australia and Germany

Sky News Radio, BBC 5 Live, Talk Sport, XFM London

Online highlights included


The Sun Online

Telegraph online

The Times Online

ITN online

MSN, Reuters,

Sky Sports News Online

Nuts Online and many,

Football fansites including Teamtalk and 4 the Game

Behind the scenes footage:

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