What is it like to be a fan of the Barclays Premier League?
According to Carlsberg, it's a literal rollercoaster ride.
A new global campaign from the beer brand, which kicked off a three-year partnership with the English soccer league this year, positions the experience of fandom as being so exciting, so unexpected, that it's akin to being on a rollercoaster.
Created via agency Santo in Buenos Aires, which picked up the global business in February, the epic spot features everyone involved in the game: players, coaches, fans -- even the referees and linesmen. Soccer legends like Robbie Fowler, Gareth Southgate, Jimmy Bullard, Marcel Desailly and Chris Kamara appear in the spot, which used 200 extras and was shot at the Walibi Park near Amsterdam.
Tom Moradpour, VP-brand at Carlsberg, said that the "Carlsberg football story is a fan story, not a player story," and added that the brand is "about the fans that watch games with a beer in their hands." That was why the company decided to take the action off the soccer pitch and out of the stadiums, and approach it from the perspective of a fan.
Sebastian Wilhelm, co-founder at Santo, said the agency started playing around with the idea of getting the Premier League "fauna" into the ad. Their inspiration came from the Disneyworld ride, "It's a Small World," but because it was a kids' ride, it was shelved. The "ride" theme gave them the idea of a rollercoaster.
As for the partnership with the League, which makes Carlsberg the official beer of the event, Mr. Moradpour said the company started that to extend existing or past soccer partnerships, such as their 21-year partnership with Liverpool F.C., their sponsorship of the Euro cup and the 1990 FIFA World Cup. The problem with Euro and club sponsorship was that they either lacked frequency, as in the case of the former, or scale, as with the latter. The Premier League is frequent, played nine months of the year every year, and huge, with fans across the world. "Asia is one of our biggest strategic priorities," said Mr. Moradpour, "and certain clubs have their biggest fan clubs in China or Thailand."
Carlsberg will extend the campaign to print, out of home, digital, PR and packaging, with a "no matching luggage" approach. Print ads, for example, don't show a rollercoaster, but feature a fan making different expressions -- the same idea of a rollicking ride without the ride itself. Also on the cards is a second-screen app that will pair with Twitter to curate tweets for fans of specific clubs.