The judges were deeply impressed by the strong, integrated content strategy powering this campaign for Southampton FC. The clear, single-minded (and topical!) creative platform, coupled with an imaginative approach to the development and deployment of content, resulted in a highly impactful campaign – the results of which were brought to life clearly through a robust measurement framework. Congratulations to Engine Mischief- a richly deserved win!

Mark of Excellence:

  • Stripe Communications and Grosvenor Casinos
    David versus Goliath

‘David versus Goliath’ was an impressively integrated, creative, and long-term content strategy that delivered tangible business impact and national notoriety. Investment was smartly leveraged across a rational and objective-led influencer engagement strategy and long form video content programme. By hosting on leading streaming services like Amazon Prime and entering industry film awards, Stripe Communications were clever in maximising the impact of their content, as well as ensuring its longevity. This is a great example to set for those who too often invest heavily in transient content that is discarded or redundant immediately after the campaign.

Finalists:

  • Headland Consultancy and Aggreko
    Immersing stakeholders in the world of temporary power
  • Hearst UK
    Good Housekeeping Cracks Christmas
  • London Luton Airport
    People First
  • Ready10 and McDonald’s
    Joe Marler & Free Fries Friday
  • Third City and Bupa
    Check Your Tackle
  • VisitScotland
    Scotland is Out of this World

Winner entry:

Brief, objectives and budget

When Southampton Football Club briefed us to promote their kit launch for the 2019/20 season, we had three key objectives:

  • Create a campaign that drives record social engagement for the club – achieving more than 4m video views
  • Drive mass awareness of the club’s kit launch – both in the UK & abroad – that converts to pre-order web traffic with a minimum of 1k click-throughs
  • Achieve fame for Southampton F.C outside of sports titles & regional media

Our target audience was, of course, the Southampton FC faithful – but the campaign was also intended to make waves beyond the South Coast, and drive engagement outside of our core fanbase, continuing the tradition of Saints as a club that often punches well above its weight, on the pitch and in the marketing stakes.

The idea, research and planning

We knew our idea had to be content-led to drive sharing, but also tie into a larger pop culture conversation if it was going to break out of football kit launch conventions and make big noise for a smaller club that prides itself on doing things differently. We turned to one of the most discussed pop culture moments of 2019 to find our inspiration.

Netflix’s documentary ‘FYRE: THE GREATEST PARTY THAT NEVER HAPPENED’ became the biggest talking point on the service when it aired, racking up over 20 million views and setting the internet alight with memes and pop culture in-jokes about the music festival so big in its vision, it was doomed to fail – the real life Fyre Festival even being covered at the time by Southampton’s local newspaper, the Daily Echo.

Strategy, creativity and innovation

Our approach was to buck football kit launch convention and spoof FYRE, turning Saints into SAYNTS and creating a mockumentary: SAYNTS: THE GREATEST KIT LAUNCH THAT NEVER HAPPENED. This meant creating conversation and coverage far beyond the sports pages and turning a set of new shirts into an unmissable talking point.

To keep the Saints faithful happy, we used club ambassadors and players – without relying on their acting ability – to appear in the mockumentary, and of course, we threw in some in-jokes.

Delivery/ implementation of tactics

We started to drive interest in the content by teasing with the new ‘SAYNTS’ logo in a striking black on red colourway, posted by current stars and Saints legends alike.

As the conversation started to flow amongst fans, we released our hero content across club channels.

The mockumentary video followed an exuberant marketing executive MBilly McFarmer (played by actor Tom Stourton), who comes to the club with an idea no one has had before – to put a Premier League kit launch on a desert island.

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhüttl and his staff are quick to shoot down McFarmer and his ridiculous SAYNTS FESTIVAL 2019/20 kit reveal idea – including Matt Le Tissier themed ‘Matt Lettuce’ and ‘Cheese Høj-burgers’ for catering. They eject McFarmer from the pitch, before returning to the kit reveal moment of the trailer one last time to launch pre-orders for the club.

Further pieces of content were released to maintain conversation and engagement after the launch. It was so well received, a real-life mini SAYNTS FESTIVAL day for fans of the club and families was held at the end of June in response.

Measurement, evaluation and impact

Across club social channels, the content smashed its targets to get fans engaged and drive mass awareness of the new kit launch:

  • Almost 8m hero video views (achieving 199% of our target) – with minimal paid support
  • Over 357k hero video engagements (achieving 638% of targets)
  • Over 18k video views for our hero video content – with no paid support

The campaign got people talking amongst media, fans & the wider public – achieving:

  • Media titles covering the launch spread beyond sport & football included BBC Sport, the Mail Online, BBC Radio 5 Live, JOE.co.uk, Sports Illustrated, Daily Echo, SportBible and more
  • Articles in key markets for the club including the USA, China and more
  • The coverage was over 95% positive – with many media praising the content for being ‘hilarious’ and a ‘perfect parody’
  • The coverage reached a truly global audience, spawning its own Twitter Moment as conversation exploded

The content also led to the club smashing its commercial objectives, delivering over 11k click-throughs to landing page (achieving 993% of the club’s target during the pre-order period).

Our inventive approach to the kit launch was widely praised by fans & media alike who praised the video for its genuinely funny take on blending pop culture and Premier League football.

The results of the campaign achieved all of our targets and delivered best-ever social engagement for the club:

  • Create a campaign that drives record social engagement for the club

Our video content notched up over 7m video views within two weeks – achieving 178% of the club’s overall targets – and saw over 425k video engagements, 760% of the club’s targets.

The kit launch is now the club’s best performing campaign of all time – achieving 30% more video views, 76% more impressions and 28% more shares than the second-highest performing.

  • Achieve fame for Southampton F.C outside of sports titles & regional media

Our earned media coverage spread beyond football and sports titles into national media with 95% positive coverage and the above comment from the BBC. The chatter amongst fans also spawned its own Twitter Moment as it captured the internet’s imagination.

  • Drive mass awareness of the club’s kit launch – both in the UK & abroad

The campaign achieved coverage across key markets for the club including the US, China and more – delivering more 696% of its targets in consumer click-throughs to the landing page for new kit pre-orders, and praise even drawn from international sports stars including Real Madrid legend, Roberto Carlos.