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Asahi Super Dry took its Man City kit sponsorship to new heights with this AR campaign

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By The Drum | Editorial

November 30, 2023 | 6 min read

The Digital Industries AR/VR winner saw Manchester City's lead training kit sponsor Asahi Super Dry 0.0% take its kit sponsorship to the next level. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of the award-winning digital work

Asahi Super Dry 0.0%, Japan's leading beer brand, took on the role as the lead sponsor for Manchester City’s training kit. The partnership is built on Asahi Super Dry’s innovative spirit, and Manchester City’s commitment to innovation across football culture, having been recently voted the world's most innovative club. Together, we are on a mission to elevate football experience for the fans and create meaningful connections aligning with Asahi Europe & International’s purpose.

Challenge: In 2023, Asahi Super Dry 0.0% was appointed as the lead sponsor for the Manchester City training kit. But training kits typically don’t elicit the same excitement for fans as match kits, and therefore emotional attachments aren’t formed. In order to maximise this partnership, we set out to change this. We felt the challenge was to alter the perception of the training kit, make the sponsorship more valuable, and execute a compelling launch campaign for the new Asahi-branded training kit. We believed we could elevate the status of the training kit and instil it with the same level of pride and symbolism as the first kit and away kit.

Pep Guardiola has publicly said he doesn’t see training as a place to practise, it’s a place to create, invent and innovate. At the end of the day, the match day performance is the byproduct of the innovation that happens in training. The training kit is what is worn when players evolve, progress and innovate. With innovation at the heart of our brand and Manchester City recently voted the world's most innovative club, we are the perfect partners to show fans how important the training is. Together we agreed that it was our mission to change football culture and make fans feel excited and inspired when wearing the training kit.

Solution: To address this challenge, we collaborated with global full service creative agency Trouble Maker to create the world's first AR-enhanced training kit in partnership with Manchester City. When the wearer pulled on the kit, it would come to life becoming a visual representation, transforming the act of wearing it into a state of progress, modernity, and development. A team of experts in Augmented Reality (AR), design, and content creation were assembled to design a groundbreaking solution. The AR filter allowed users to scan the Asahi Super Dry logo on the shirt, instantly triggering a captivating Japanese-inspired electrical display. The dynamic visual experience showed the transformation players undergo during training, highlighting the connection between Asahi's dedication to innovation and Manchester City's commitment to progress.

By using the AR filter, it effectively showcased the synergy between the two brands and the transformational nature of the training experience. This innovation in the product was our proof point to help people elevate their perceptions of the training kit. The next stage was to take it to market in a way that was exciting, credible and created conversation. Trouble Maker devised and produced a social video of the Man City men’s and women’s teams discovering the innovation for themselves, at their training ground. In a star-studded piece of content, featuring Kevin De Bruyne, Demi Stokes, John Stones and Yui Hasegawa; we see players scanning the logo on the shirt and unlocking the AR feature that transforms the kit. We then see them inspired to train and push themselves, as the kit glows around them. Having fans’ heroes in the creative aimed to create positive sentiment towards the training kit.

Results: The impact of the AR-enhanced training kit launch exceeded expectations. The campaign became the most engaged-with piece of partner content of the season. The social-first assets, shared across various channels including Asahi and Manchester City's social media platforms, achieved an impressive 19.87 million content impacts/views and over 428,000 interactions. The campaign also garnered over 36,000 clicks to discover more content, demonstrating its widespread appeal. This ended up being more than a campaign for Asahi Super Dry and Manchester City, but inspired other football clubs around the world, who have started to request their own AR enabled training kits. This achievement underscores the campaign's effectiveness in redefining the role of the training kit within football culture, creating a lasting impact on fan sentiment and generating significant value for the partnership between us and Manchester City.

Using technology, we didn’t just innovate a kit or enhance the experience for the players and fans, we captured the attention of fans who wouldn’t normally pay attention to training kits, helping to begin reimagining the role a training kit plays in football culture.

Summary: Manchester City Football Club is the ‘Most Innovative Team in Global Sports’. Asahi Super Dry is recognised globally for its innovation and expertise. It was the perfect partnership to redefine the category of training kits in football. However, we had to overcome a challenge. Training kits generally don’t have the same emotional attachment from fans as other kits. The goal was to change perceptions and increase the value of the training kit to fans, to elevate the sponsorship and deliver an impactful launch. To address this challenge, Asahi Super Dry collaborated with Trouble Maker to create the world's first AR-enhanced training kit in partnership with Manchester City. We developed an AR filter allowing users to scan the Asahi Super Dry 0.0% logo on the shirt, instantly triggering a captivating Japanese-inspired electrical display. Next, we needed to take it to market. Trouble Maker devised and produced a social video of the Manchester City men’s and women’s teams discovering the innovation for themselves, directly on their training pitch. The campaign became the most engaged-with piece of partner content of the season.

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