This campaign won ‘Best Launch or Re-launch’ at the Cannes Lions 2009 for Resonate PR.
Our challenge was to re-launch The Football Pools of Sportech. We wanted to cause reconsideration of an 85 year old brand, extending awareness beyond established customers, and marking the brand's 85th anniversary whilst communicating the CSR message of the £1.1bn the organisation has donated to arts and good causes.
To do this we decided to create a vehicle that would take the brand beyond the sports media and into the mainstream, carrying both our launch and CSR messages across all media platforms.
We created The Beautiful Game, a fusion of 'The Arts' and Football, choreographed and performed by the English National Ballet. It involved the recreation of 10 iconic moments of football history as voted for by more than 20,000 football fans via The New Football Pools website.
The outcome was that our client Sportech reported a 39 percent increase in full-year profit for 2008 due to the re-launch activity. Over 100 pieces of coverage- including spreads in five national newspapers- with a media value of over £1.1million were achieved.
The Football Pools is a national institution. In its heyday, dreams of life changing financial gain hinged every week on those Saturday teatime football results for over a third of the population
However, since the advent of the UK lottery and a succession of newer, exciting online gaming platforms (poker, bingo, fruit machines), the Pools customer base has been in decline. In 2008 funding was secured to re-launch the business as ‘The New Football Pools’.
A new brand identity was devised and an entirely new online proposition and suite of games were devised to recruit a new generation of players. The campaign needed a focal point, beyond the new website to provoke debate and drive discussion.
The goal of The Beautiful Game was to surprise people. To make people reconsider the Pools and get it talked about- not just in football grounds but in coffee shops, offices and at bus stops.
We needed a 'bang' that would cause people to reconsider what is an 85 year old institution. The communication of the strong CSR heritage of the brand was also very important.
Specifically the £1.1bn the company has donated to arts and good causes. Another key part of the brand’s reinvention was taking the brand online- we needed branded content that could thrive across the internet.
We needed a vehicle which would carry both our launch and CSR messages across all media platforms, particularly the mainstream news and online. We know that content is king in today's digital world so therefore we needed some killer content that could live both on and offline.
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 this conflict which was the power behind the idea. We would involve people in the debate at the ground level- hosting a web poll on The Greatest Football Moments of All Time.
The voted for top 10 would then give us a user generated script outline- recreating all ten moments in the ballet. The eventual performance would be filmed to give us dynamite online content, but also be performed to the public to access the maximum range of media.
• May: Secured partnership with English National Ballet, giving crucial credibility to the event.
• May/June: Hosted the 'Greatest Moments' poll, achieving 20,000+ votes, and a top 10, on The New Football Pools site. Poll was seeded in over 180 websites, fansites, blogs and forums to drive discussion and voting.
• July/August: In secrecy, the top 10 moments are choreographed into a performance, including Maradona’s Hand of God, Gordon Banks’ amazing 1970 World Cup save and Beckham’s heart stopping free kick against Greece.
• September: The resulting performance is staged at two theatres, beneficiaries of Pools funding. The first- a special press preview at the Unicorn Theatre in London attended by 40+ international media. This was filmed and immediately sold to all on-line contacts (News, Sports, Arts and Features).
• Five days later we held a public premiere at the Everyman Playhouse in Liverpool, the original home of The Pools.
Quote from Reuters 24/3/09: “LONDON (Reuters) - Football-pools operator Sportech reported a 39 percent increase in full-year profit... Sportech said the rebranding and relaunch of the New Football Pools… had driven increased resilience in customer numbers”.
We achieved the objective of taking the brand from the niche sports pages to the mainstream audience. We created a huge debate, some loved it, some did not, many passed it onto friends - above all people talked about and are still doing so. All of which is impossible without mentioning The New Football Pools.
In total, we generated over 100 pieces of media coverage with a media value of over £1.1 Million. Coverage highlights include:
• Print - Large spreads in The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Metro
• Broadcast - BBC Breakfast News, Sky Sports News, Football Focus, BBC 5 Live, Talk Sport, XFM London
• Online - The Sun Online, Telegraph online, The Times Online, ITN online, MSN, Reuters, Sky Sports News Online, + '1000's of blogs and fansites
See a video from this campaign below:
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