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By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

December 7, 2023 | 7 min read

After 30 years together, Carlsberg had to go big to mark its next decade with LFC. Here’s how the creative agency netted a last-minute winner with an alluring tattoo film.

Six weeks ago, Worth Your While was tasked with a huge brief and a small window to make it happen. Carlsberg’s global sponsorship director, Louise Bach, had just signed a deal to extend the beer brand’s partnership with Liverpool FC for another ten years, making it the longest-running partnership in the Premier League.

The agency had to announce the news in a big way.

“It had to be creatively excellent,” says the agency’s creative director, Tim Pashen. “The client is tough and expects brilliance but is very fair.”

To Worth Your While, nothing screamed love and dedication to sport quite like getting a permanent football tattoo. 32 Liverpool fans agreed to get 57 tattoos between them, and their ink each made up a frame of a stop-motion film called ’10 More Years. Inked’.

Here’s the story behind the campaign.

Memorable moments

Eagle-eyed supporters may notice a nod in the film to the memorable moment footballer Peter Crouch performed a 'bicycle kick' straight into the back of the net during a Liverpool v Galatasaray game in 2006. It's these types of iconic scenes that fans talk about for years.

Carlsberg’s Bach was more than happy to support that kind of brave work, that was never a concern. But, the creative had to land with those dedicated football followers and stand the test of time, similar to last year’s 30th-anniversary film.

During the making of the previous spot ‘LFC x Carlsberg: Partners for 30 years. Forever Fans’, Pashen remembers a moment when the former left winger John Barnes stopped everyone in their tracks. He said: “Players come and go, but fans are forever”.

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This statement from the retired footballer inspired this unconventional fan involvement. Pashen says there was a huge responsibility plus a mammoth legacy to contend with.

A brief brief

It took the team a week to develop and present the tattoo idea to Carlsberg. That was the easy bit. Then, the agency had to convince the fans to get inked.

“We know that football fans are crazy, but how deep does that passion go?” Pashen recalls that the initial couple of weeks of the project were hectic. “It was bold, brave, ambitious and nerve-wracking.”

With the help of The Glue Society through Biscuit Filmworks, it was surprisingly easy to find people willing to get inked for the film. One fan even had five done in one day.

“The undying loyalty of Liverpool fans never ceases to amaze me,” added Bach. “In this case, getting permanently inked in tribute to the longest-running club sponsor signing for 10 more years. They are the best fans in the world. No probably about it.”

Another crucial element of the process was finding the tattoo artists who could clear their schedule and make it happen in such a short amount of time. Brothers Jay and Dan Hutton were a perfect fit. As Pashen puts it, Dan takes tattooing as seriously as Virgil van Dijk takes football.

Skin in the game

“They’re both lifelong Liverpool fans,” explains Pashen. “But Dan had to tattoo for ten days straight. It meant the whole schedule was built like a house of cards.”

After the inking and shooting, the footage had to be stitched together. You’ll notice throughout the ad that a number 10 jersey is prevalent, a nod to the partnership. The stop-motion animation was the perfect way to splice everything seamlessly. Post-production wasn’t too trying, other than navigating all the different time zones with the team spread across London, Copenhagen and even Sydney.

From today, the end film will be rolled out across social media on Carlsberg’s and Liverpool FC’s owned channels. “It’s a big thing that Liverpool chooses to push it organically,” smiles Pashen. “They have other sponsors. They don’t push every branded sponsorship piece. You know you’ve done your job well when they want to push it out, and they actually want to put paid media behind it.”

The creative admits that these are the kind of campaigns that excite him, the ones where you get to put your neck out a little bit and go through many hoops to get the work over the line. “This is our Premier League,” he explains. “These are the briefs we live for.”

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Pashen concludes: “You know you’re on to a good idea when you feel sick in your stomach. It’s a bit dangerous and makes you feel uneasy. I had that when the first people got tattooed. We’ve lived with it for a couple of weeks, and it then became normal.”

Interested in seeing more creative campaigns? Check out our Ad of the Day and the Best Ads of the Week sections.

Creative Creative Works Carlsberg

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