Campaign: Sure entices flag-wavers into the zone

Unilever, the company behind men's deodorant Sure Sport, was not an official sponsor of the World Cup in Germany. However, it did run a series of TV ads themed around the tournament, showing fans watching football matches, with the strap 'Extreme protection that lets you go wild'. To complement this, it also ran a competition to find the UK's 'wildest fan'.

To build on this theme, the brand wanted to create a promotional event during the football tournament.

To bring the advertising slogan to life, and generate broadcast coverage on key TV programmes throughout the World Cup.

Strategy and Plan
Incumbent agency Frank PR came up with the idea of a Sure Fanzone - a purpose-built inflatable temporary arena near London's Tower Bridge, where people could watch World Cup games. The experience would be enhanced by special effects, including lighting, sound, smoke, confetti cannons and flames.

Ex-England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright helped launch the Fanzone at a press meeting, where journalists watched the arena being erected. The Frank team met sports editors to talk them through the concept. Once the arena was set up, some of the journalists were invited into the Fanzone to witness the special effects.

One-hundred-and-fifty ‘wildest fan' competition winners were then invited to England matches being shown at the venue, and were given Sure-branded T-shirts or boiler suits to wear. Attendants (including journalists) were tested to see how much they sweated at tense moments in the games: the results were presented in a press release as proof of Sure's effectiveness.

Frank picked a ‘superfan' to act as a spokesperson for the brand at each screening, while former England footballers, such as John Barnes and Matt Le Tissier, added celebrity appeal. Meanwhile, David Beckham and Sven-Göran Eriksson lookalikes were on hand, briefed by the PR team on how to discuss the product.

Live satellite feeds, broadcasting facilities and housing for photographers were set up to encourage journalists to report from the site.

Measurement and Evaluation

Cut-away reactions to England goals at the Fanzone were used across broadcast media, and coverage appeared on every terrestrial TV station, as well as Sky and CNN.

Radio coverage included the BBC World Service, Radio 2's The Chris Evans Show and TalkSport, which broadcast every game from the Fanzone. National newspapers, such as the Daily Express and The Independent, as well as London's Evening Standard, also covered the stunt.

The competition to find the ‘wildest fan' attracted 35,000 entries, while the Sure website received more than 260,000 hits in the run-up to the games. Sure Sport for Men doubled its share of the men's deodorant market from 1.5 per cent to three per cent, and saw sales increase seven-fold during the campaign period.

Martin Booth, deputy sports editor at the Sunday Mirror, says: ‘We ran a competition to win tickets. We were happy to mention the Fanzone because we got to talk to John Barnes at one match. Frank was also proactive about helping us get reaction from fans. It was a fun idea in a great location.'

Second Opinion

Mitchell Kaye, managing director at Mischief PR, oversaw Samsung Mobile's pre-World Cup SpotKick Challenge.

Never mind the football, the World Cup is a commercial animal. It's hard enough if you're an official sponsor, but for non-official brands, hijacking the tournament is the PR equivalent of being reduced to ten men before kick-off.

Tasking Frank PR with bringing the strapline ‘Extreme protection that lets you go wild' to life is easier said than done with so much World Cup clutter. Frank needed something special to achieve cut-through, and its response gave fans and the media a World Cup focal point.

For the broadcast media - a priority for Sure - it was a real coup getting them to show footage of England fans celebrating.

By persuading Sky, the BBC and ITN News to feature the Zone, Frank also ensured that awareness of the campaign moved beyond London. Its deal with TalkSport to broadcast every game from the Fanzone extended reach in a targeted way.

The true test of this campaign rests with sales, which increased seven-fold. But despite strong national coverage and an excellent website, the real impact was felt in the capital. Was there any budget for a big city roll-out?

Frank deserves huge credit for gate-crashing the World Cup with a creative, clever and compelling solution. Had England's outgoing manager shown these qualities, they'd still be dancing in the Fanzone today.

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