To prepare England fans for UEFA Euro 2012 Carlsberg has launched its new TV campaign– ‘Fan Academy’. Created by London advertising agency Fold7, founder and creative director, Ryan Newey, who led the project, gives the inside track on the work and offers insight on how to make the client/agency relationship a true partnership.
Carlsberg have a history of making some of the best football ads of all time. We understood the importance of the task at hand and knew we had some big shoes to fill.
The idea for “Fan Academy” came from a simple truth; one of the best things about English Football is the fans. We have some of the best fans in the world. They are loyal and will travel anywhere to show their support. They brave the elements and eagerly board the emotional rollercoaster that international tournaments inevitably bring, celebrating their team’s performance with pride, humour and courage.
Expanding the thought of “the best fans in the world” we developed the idea of a training academy. A place where fans are pushed to go the extra mile and be the best fan they can be for their country. Carlsberg is the natural reward for their efforts, with the ad culminating in the end line “Giving your all for England, That calls for a Carlsberg”.
Bringing “Fan Academy” to life
Once the Fan Academy concept had been born, we began exploring the rich creative territory of football, specifically English football.
Our creative team, together with some hard-core footie fans across the agency, identified some of the key truths about England fans. From braving the elements, to coping with the stress of a penalty shoot-out, we had a wealth of ideas, many of which became central to the ad. Including the theme for each room of the Academy along with little gems such as the menu board in the canteen featuring “French toast” and “mashed Swede.” It was then a case of boiling down the ideas into something we could fit into 90 seconds.
We’d always had a shortlist of most-wanted celebs for training each of the activities in the Academy - chanting and yelling at the top of your lungs, Brian Blessed, no contest - so we were chuffed to learn that so many of them wanted to take part. The first person we approached was the legend himself, Des Lynam, who, despite being 70 years of age, was still up for it and in great spirits.
We then began working with director Peter Cattaneo to bring the concept to life, through storyboarding and into production, adding as much layering and taking every opportunity to squeeze the most out of every frame.
The partnership with Carlsberg has been exactly that, a good partnership. This is the first time the UK team have worked with someone other than Saatchi and Saatchi for 17 years, so we knew it was vital that a solid working relationship was established quickly. At Fold7 we always prefer a collaborative process with our clients. It’s important everyone is on board and comfortable with the creative direction of a campaign.
Working with Carlsberg
Carlsberg really get into the psyche of fans, because they are fans themselves. It’s in their DNA. For them it’s more than corporate sponsorship, they want to add value for the fans and build on the excitement of the Euro tournament.
What I love about Carlsberg is that unlike some sponsors they resisted the temptation to force the brand. We could have easily had a big sign out front reading “Carlsberg Fan Academy” but chose not to. Carlsberg understand that the Fan Academy is for fans, facilitated by Carlsberg but not owned by them. There’s a subtle but important difference here and this sensibility flows through the whole approach, allowing Carlsberg to be genuine and united with the fans in their love of football.