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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

July 12, 2023 | 3 min read

The global campaign, timed to Messi’s entrance into Major League Soccer (MLS), promotes a new chicken sandwich inspired by the athlete’s favorite Argentine dish.

Today, global restaurant chain Hard Rock Cafe unveiled its new global campaign, ‘Greatness happens here,’ starring Lionel Messi, just ahead of the Argentine professional soccer player’s first match for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS).

Central to the campaign is a new TV commercial titled ‘Something new is cooking.’ Directed by Marco Grandia (of Pop!, The Dutch Film Festival: Commercial and Anderland), the spot follows Messi as he swaps out the sports jersey for a Hard Rock-branded apron and plays the role of chef at the restaurant.

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In the ad, Messi and his sous chefs whip up a new addition to Hard Rock’s global menu, “The Messi Chicken Sandwich, “which is described by the brand as a breaded chicken sandwich topped with melted provolone cheese, herbed aioli, fresh tomatoes and arugula on a toasted artisan bun. The dish is inspired by Milanese-style chicken, one of the athlete’s favorite Argentinian dishes growing up.

The global campaign was led by the independent creative agency and studio Yes, We’re Open. It goes live today, encompassing extensive social media and mass media support.

“It is an immense joy for us to collaborate with Hard Rock International on the launch of this new and ambitious campaign,” said Máximo Lorenzo, managing partner at Yes, we’re Open, in a statement shared with The Drum. “The brand faces the challenge and ambition of ensuring that Hard Rock remains a cool and relevant brand, not only for its loyal customers but also for new consumers who find representation in the emerging generations, increasingly demanding and connected.”

The work represents a continuation of the brand’s partnership with Messi, which began with the ‘Live Greatness’ campaign and the Messi Burger in March 2022. In November of 2022, Hard Rock launched a co-branded retail collection in honor of Messi’s world championship run and historic win.

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