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By The Drum | Editorial

December 6, 2023 | 6 min read

Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Footballco & Fuse have won the Travel and Leisure category at The Drum Awards for Content. Here is the award-winning case study.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is in its 8th year of partnering with UEFA to sponsor the UEFA Europa League (UEL) and latterly the UEFA Conference League (UECL) competitions. Their goal is to become the best and most trusted mobility company globally. They know for their audience, renting a vehicle is not the most important thing in their lives, the mission they are renting for is, whether that’s moving house or following their football club home and away.

With strong brand and sponsorship awareness in the UK and Turkey (mature markets), and room for growth across other regions in Europe, we wanted to bring this season’s sponsorship to life through content not typically seen in this space before.

Footballco is a global football media and content business reaching 800m+ fans every month through our portfolio of football brands. We’ve worked closely with Sports Marketing and Entertainment agency Fuse International to help their clients activate rights globally with cutting-edge content.

THE OBJECTIVES The landscape of sponsorship activation in football is an increasingly cluttered space with rights holders often struggling to cut through and when it comes to European Football, the UEFA Champions League typically occupies the lion share of brand activations. Our objectives were three-fold:

Grow brand and sponsorship awareness: in 13 European Markets by leveraging Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s association to the UEL/UECL and do something different to how they have activated their sponsorships through content in the past, and from other content executions from UEFA partners.

Showcase the rich and interesting stories of fans in the UEL/UECL: There are so many interesting and untold stories in the UEL/UECL that can help Enterprise Rent-A-Car standout. We wanted to create something that appealed to the broad spectrum of fandom, shining a light on fans from diverse backgrounds and tapping into that universal feeling of excitement watching your club play on a Thursday night.

Establish a role for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the content: and showcase their range of vehicles, we know every UEL/UECL fan has their own mission so we wanted to make Enterprise vehicles part of that, whatever the task, in a way that didn’t feel forced.

THE STRATEGY We concepted ‘All Roads Lead to Thursday’, a hero film and integrated content series following fans from across Europe in the build up to a UEL/UECL night, putting the attention on Thursday nights as an ownable territory for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Shooting in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Seville, among the rich and diverse stories we uncovered were inspirational street footballer, charity founder and Ajax fan, Rocky; Mark 'the Rib Man', a west end street food vender who sells ribs near London stadium before heading in to watch his beloved West Ham; Berlin-based rapper and Union Berlin fan Liquit Walker and British-Punjabi artist and Arsenal fan Semira.

The content showcased the everyday missions fans go through in their hometown to be able to support their team on a Thursday night, and how Enterprise vehicles can facilitate them. Partnering with Sir Steve McQueen’s production agency Lammas Park, a production house you wouldn’t typically see in the football sponsorship world, and Director Jade Ang Jackman, allowed us to bring a new dimension to football fan storytelling, elevating the content output with premium production equipment and techniques.

We produced a dynamic hero film distributed across Footballco and Enterprise Rent-A-Car social and media channels utilising visual storytelling to appeal to audiences across Europe. This was supported by four longer form character films delving deeper into the fan’s lives and weekly routines building up to a game. Characters were provided with a range of different vehicles to help them go about their gameweek, providing a meaningful role for the brand in the content.

THE RESULTS

Grow brand and sponsorship awareness The films increased Enterprise’s UEL/UECL sponsorship awareness by an average of +8% according to a Nielsen study. All Roads Lead to Thursday was seen by millions of football fans across Europe, reaching 21.4M unique fans and being viewed over 10M times across social media over-delivering on all KPIs.

Celebrate the rich and interesting stories within the UEL/UECL The films represented premium storytelling covering a breadth of UEL/UECL clubs across Europe advocated by the fans and UEFA. "I really appreciated the opportunity Enterprise gave me to showcase my own story/ relationship with football and how this has developed over time. The Footballco team were great to work with and the filming process felt comfortable which allowed me to portray myself and my art naturally." Semira Badesha, British-Punjabi Artist and Fan Character “It's been another exciting UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League season which is perfectly encapsulated in this fan-led, branded content series by our valued partner Enterprise Rent-A-Car. We are delighted to support this best in class campaign.” Guillaume Sabran, Head of Sponsorship, UEFA

Establish a role for Enterprise Rent-A-Car The content was exceptionally well received by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, shared and endorsed by senior stakeholders in the business and showcased their position as a facilitator of fan missions across Europe. “Supporting fan missions in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League is a big focus for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. We understand the dedication and effort fans go through to support their team every week and we wanted our campaign to celebrate this passion. Partnering with Footballco for the 2022/23 season, we admired their creative ability to use content to globally engage fans. Working with them to create, ‘All Roads Lead to Thursday’ allowed us to connect with fans across Europe through their everyday missions & journeys in the build-up to a Thursday night, an ownable territory for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.” Mark Thomas, Assistant Vice President, EU Marketing, Enterprise Aligning with authentic fan stories allows the audience to feel like Enterprise Rent-A-Car represents people like them, fan’s who love their club and go through missions to get to watch them on a Thursday night. This is supported by a 14% uplift in rental consideration (Nielsen). Those who had seen the film were also 15% more likely to recommend Enterprise Rent-A-Car to a friend (Alchemer).

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