Flash of inspiration: experiential football event packs a punch for Tennent's Lager

Flash Football was an innovative experiential event delivered by Material Marketing Communications for Tennent's Lager. Tennent's wanted to create buzz around its new football sponsorship. Material engaged the talents of ex- and current Old Firm players to go head to head in a 'spontaneous' showdown in Glasgow's city centre. This case study explains the PR strategy behind the event, and highlights the results the event had for Tennents' including increased brand conversation about Tennent's.

‘Flash Football’ was Material’s creative response to Tennent’s brief, which was to create a disruptive media launch, engaging Old Firm fans via delivery of mass awareness and talkability around Tennent’s new football sponsorship.The core idea was to establish a clear point of difference to previous football sponsors in Tennent’s marketing category, demonstrating an understanding of what it means to be a football fan in Scotland (built on a 36 year association) communicating a football positioning of “Making History, Creating Memories”. This would be achieved via a spontaneous and unique one off 7 a side Old Firm derby in Glasgow city centre involving ex-players of both clubs. By utilizing the iconic space on offer in George Square at peak time, Material knew that it could build anticipation and generate a healthy crowd before going into the event. But Material also took the decision not to pre-promote the activity and instead generated interest and intrigue via a teasing media invitation and by cordoning off an area in George Square on the day itself – communicating that something was about to take place.The main brand objectives of the event were to create mass awareness of Tennent’s Lager new sponsorship of Celtic and Rangers and engage fans and demonstrate an understanding of what it means to be a football fan. The PR strategy had to deliver activity that meets positioning of “Creating History, Making Memories”. The main communication objectives were campaign reach, website and PR. Coverage should appear in daily and Sunday media titles, broadcast throughout the day and social media sites (Facebook, YouTube & Twitter). The campaign had to engage consumers in meaningful dialogue on tennents.com, increase registrations to the site and increase dwell time by viewing edited footage. The material objectives were to deliver a disruptive event to capture the imagination of the public (spontaneous activity in high footfall area) and deliver a unique event which would raise the awareness of Tennent’s sponsorship.Tennent’s Flash Football was managed by an in-house team, together with an agency group consisting of Material and Whitespace. The event took place on Thursday 5th August in front of a crowd of 500. The strategic decision was taken to wait until the World Cup had taken place as it would have been expected that we would have launched the sponsorship on the day the deal began. We decided to pick the most opportune day in the calendar to maximise media exposure.The plan for the event was to secure 14 cult heroes of the Old Firm sides – to form 7-a-side squads. Material also wanted to have club captains who were true legends of the clubs, with a specific emphasis on securing two personalities who would ensure media engagement. In Lorenzo Amoruso and Pierre van Hooijdonk Material felt this was achieved. Material created a couple of “set up” shots that would engage media and supporters and add to the humour of the day. An elderly lady was cast to walk across the ‘pitch’ at a certain point and for Lorenzo Amoruso to help her cross the square. Additionally, former grade one referee, Willie Young was dressed as a Glasgow traffic attendant who would step in to end the match. Both of these set up shots were huge successes and made a big impact in the National media.A comprehensive PR strategy across multiple platforms supported the event and online campaign activity within two key International territories in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, with key target being Scotland and Northern Ireland.There was no pre-event advertising or promotions. Instead a media invite was sent out with the date, venue and time of the event, but no hint as to what was actually happening or who was involved. The idea was to drive as much intrigue as possible within the media. Sky Sports sent a live satellite truck to capture live interviews for Sky Sports News.At the event, unique on-site branding, including on the players’ jerseys and match ball, engaged the target market. The event secured live input to Sky Sports News immediately following the event. There were 35 articles relating to Flash Football over two days in the Scottish daily and Sunday press. Additional coverage included seven articles in Irish press; 12 online articles and nine broadcast clips in Scotland.There were 22 Twitter conversations on the day of the event footage on YouTube by members of the public within the hour of event completion. Traffic rose to 4,204 on tennents.com - an increase of 653% on the previous day (where traffic was 558 visits), and there were 16,738 views of the edits in one week.This case study was submitted as part of the entry process to the Scottish Event Awards, and was awarded best PR strategy. The case studies of all winners are available in a special winners supplement, which can be downloaded for free by clicking below.

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