Football fan (and strategy expert) James Kirkham shares his pick of award-winning campaigns that centre on the beautiful game.
If you’re a football fan, there’s not a lot of action in 2017. But when you consider the next World Cup is only 18 months away, it’s not going to be long before brands start thinking about how they can get involved in the beautiful game.
James Kirkham heads up Copa90, which sets out to be the global home of football fan culture. Football is so much more than the 90 minutes on the pitch – and for brands that can tap into the rich and vibrant fan culture that supports the game worldwide, there are rich opportunities to connect with engaged and enthusiastic audiences.
Get your first football fix of 2017 with James’ selection of top choices of Gold Lion-winning footie flavoured creativity.
My Blood is Red and Black by Leo Burnett Tailor Made
"This was a masterpiece, and arguably helped start the trend for super smart, campaigning work. The campaign managed to do the impossible by switching colours on the shirt of a football team and started a genuine movement. When advertising is perfect, it looks like this."
Write the Future by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
"This is classic Nike Football advertising. Epic cinematic filmmaking, a narrative as compelling as any Hollywood movie, and, best of all, Twitter and Facebook integration that allowed you to ‘write the future’ of your favourite player, with the best submissions put up in lights at the stadium."
Hard Chorus by Droga5
"This delightful spot saw one hundred intimidating-looking English supporters singing a heart-warming rendition of ‘Truly Madly Deeply’. Puma was bold and brave here; moving away from football advertising clichés that set about making the players into demigods and turning the camera 180 degrees to focus on the fans."
805 Million Names by Forsman & Bodenfors
"This was very nearly incredible. To raise awareness of all those who live in hunger, superstar footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic revealed the names of 50 starving people tattooed on his body during a Paris Saint-Germain match. Unfortunately, the tattoos weren’t real, and churlish as it sounds, the temporary nature of it made it feel like just a stunt and it fell short of affecting popular culture."
The Dilemma by Publicis Italy
"By creating a live real-time spoof that gave one fan the ultimate football dilemma to be played out in front of a packed Olympic stadium, Heineken pushed advertising further into the live action space. The brand should be applauded for its ambition, even if there was a hint of cheese about the finished execution."
James Kirkham is Chief Strategy Officer at BigBalls Media and Head of Copa 90. He has spoken at several editions of Cannes Lions, including Lions Entertainment in 2016.