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Case Studies


Sony Pictures ‘The Damned United’ launch media campaign

Sony Pictures ‘The Damned United’ launch media campaign

Best practice from Manning Gottlieb OMD.


Manning Gottlieb OMD was faced with the challenge of support the Sony Pictures release of ‘The Damned United’.

The film is based on Brian Clough and his disastrous 44 day reign as Leeds United manager.


Football genre films typically under perform at the box office so Manning Gottlieb OMD needed a hook to ensure it competed with other releases with wider appeal and budgets triple theirs.

They also needed to establish Sony Pictures as the studio to successfully launch smaller film productions.


A trail-blazer in managerial controversy, Clough forced the public to have an opinion about him. He was the motivating factor for seeing the film.


Manning Gottlieb OMD’S strategy focused on Clough, using his controversial opinions and quotes to fuel debate. The campaign art work came from this strategic recommendation.


Clough’s old clubs provided the perfect environment to launch the campaign. Manning Gottlieb OMD secured an iconic spot just before kick-off in the fourth round FA Cup clash between Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

The spot made such an impact that the commentators talked about the film during the match.

Empire magazine and The London Paper dedicated column inches to the ad break and the commentary itself.

Regional press in Nottingham and Derby also reported on the ad spot with coverage extending into local and football team blogs.

Multi-platform partnerships used Clough’s controversial personality to deliver in-depth content, fuelling discussion and encouraging wider audiences to ‘join the debate’.

A talkSPORT live broadcast enabled the listeners to join the debate in real time.

Additional activity, including a competition, delivered high frequency national coverage.

Manning Gottlieb OMD also took Clough’s quotes to the masses using large format outdoor sites and maximised standout and value by buying into programming environments that films don’t normally use.


Taking over £2.2 million at the box office, ‘The Damned United’ beat other football films and Oscar nominated dramas.

Click through rates outstripped the usual Entertainments response by a staggering 60%!

Testimonial came from Sony Pictures Marketing Director, Stuart Williams, who said, “To plagiarise the great man himself – I wouldn’t say you were the best media team in the business, but you’re in the top one.”

To see a video of this case study, please click the screen below.

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