This case should win “Content Activation Prisen” because it basically uses creativity to harnesses a deeply human and contextual insight to create a piece of content based on the pride and emotions of an entire nation.
Our piece of content starts as a voice. Then it becomes a sound. Then it becomes a piece of music.
It then becomes a data point. And a wave. Then it morphs to a piece of graphic. And then a football shirt. From there it becomes a story. An image. A film. An ad. A national symbol. And then a must-have.
It started in the stadium and was first launched on Spotify, being carried by sound. It then travelled the media landscape from newsrooms to traditional media, across the cinema and on to display, search and SoMe.
Along the way, it broke all previous sales records by 249% resulting in a massive ROMI of 23 and an impressive ROI of 5 – while at the same time capturing the attention of an entire nation and broadcasting the brand’s values, resulting in a 7% increase in purchase intention.
After a year of empty stadiums, Denmark was going to the UEFA EURO 2020 (in 2021).
As the team’s official kit sponsor, the Danish sports brand hummel wanted to take advantage of the situation, particularly following a tough fiscal year due to Covid-19.
The objective was twofold: Build the brand and create sales.
1. Enhance hummel’s brand position as the social sports brand that truly understands the fans
By creating a tribute to the sense of community in football, which is already an integral part of the hummel brand as stated in the payoff: "Share The Game".
2. Make the most of the sales potential
By creating a best-selling must-have for all fans of the Denmark team and drive sales of related DBU merchandise by hummel.
Football fans buy football shirts no matter what, right? Just do a new one and they'll buy it, regardless of design or marketing.
Well, yes and no. A small group of hard-core fans and football shirt aficionados buy all shirts. But a small group is not enough to reach the full sales potential of a new official shirt for the national Danish football team. Far from it.
So, we had to find a way to make the new shirt a must-have for all Danish football fans upon its release in early Spring 2021. At the same time, hummel wanted to stand out as the social sports brand who truly understands what it means to be a football fan
The key insight here is the growing feeling of a gap between the regular fans and the 11 celebrities on the pitch and the multi-billion football industry they are all forced to be a part of. Before the campaign, Danish football federation DBU was already trying to bridge this gap and make football great again.
Our take was to create a jersey that could help revitalize the deep-rooted relationship between fans and players. And our starting point was the magic moment where fans and players are standing united, doing exactly the same thing as if they were one big team: Singing their hearts out when they intone the national anthem together before the match.
This moment is the essence of everything the Danish national team stands for. It's sharing, it's togetherness, it's unity. And as such, it's also the essence of the hummel brand.
In short, we wanted to transform this powerful moment into a football jersey – embracing the sentiments of the fans and the hummel brand values at the very same time.
Almost two years before launch, a film crew was hired to document the making of the jersey. Also, one of Denmark’s most important media houses, TV2, was invited to follow the process exclusively to ensure an extended coverage on all platforms.
Two weeks before launch, PR specialists started informing a large number of different TV and radio shows, news sites and lifestyle magazines about the new jersey. And under strict news embargos also video footage, photos and quotes from national players were shared. In collaboration with editors and journalists, we invited suitable guests to participate in TV and radio shows. All of them informed about the story behind the jersey.
A few days before the official launch, we released a recording on Spotify of 35,000 fans singing the national anthem in Parken. A hidden easter egg as the jersey design featured a unique sound wave of the singing fans – and the album cover was the first official photo of the new jersey. This quickly got the buzz going.
On the official release date, the massive PR effort was fully activated and achieved headline coverage on every media worth mentioning. We also released an official launch film with a strong emotional appeal on social media to give the fans the full story behind the jersey.
In the following days, we launched ads in Euroman and in cinemas, flanked by a digital campaign leading fans to purchase using display, SoMe and search. And finally, we dressed every Danish sport retailer in red and white sound waves from the jersey.
Furthermore, we kept the campaign alive by dropping unique content with players and influencers talking about the new jersey and the importance of togetherness.
Standing united, singing your heart out, is the essence of being a football fan – just like sharing and togetherness is the essence of the hummel brand.
So, the creative strategy was to find a way of transforming this moment of unity among football fans into a new official Denmark jersey.
Co-creation quickly came to mind as a symbol of togetherness, but we wanted to do more than just a symbol. We wanted to turn the jersey into a medium in itself, broadcasting the message of unity. Actually, we wanted the jersey to be the message!
In other words, we came up with a solution allowing fans to leave their mark directly on the official shirt and make it an image of their support and devotion to the team:
One of the last times, pre-corona, fans filled the Danish national stadium in Copenhagen we turned it into a massive recording studio and captured the roar of 35,000 fans singing together.
Afterwards, we converted the sound of togetherness into a unique sound wave and then transformed the sound wave into red fabric – as a 3D printer of emotions, so to speak. And created a jersey with the echo of fans in every single fibre.
In short, we didn't just let the fans co-create the jersey. We let them sing it! And from there, the task was all about telling the story behind the making of the jersey so fans could fully appreciate that it was not only made for them – it was made by them. Made By Denmark.
The objective of the campaign was twofold: Sell as many Denmark shirts + merchandise as possible and – at the same time – boost the hummel brand. Both objectives were met, making record sales while raising purchase consideration for the hummel brand as such.
In more detail, the outcome (so far) looks as follows:
The campaign was featured in most broad Danish media. Such as TV2 Nyhederne, DR TV-Avisen, Go’ Morgen Danmark, Go’ Aften Danmark, Aftenshowet, BT, EB og Euroman.
VALUE OF PR: 8,700,000 DKK
Furthermore, the brand values of unity and togetherness, imbedded in the jersey, were picked up by the target audience and boosted the entire hummel brand. Following five years of decline, the cycle was broken as hummel’s purchase consideration saw a notable rise after the campaign.
CONSIDERATION: +7 % (after 5 years of decline)
The jersey and the campaign behind overperformed on every sales target imagined. It sold out and had to be restocked several times and broke the previous sales record made by the 2018 World Cup jersey.
SALES IN TOTAL: Index 249 – compared to record sales in 2018 (World Cup jersey)
Now, you might imagine that the impressive sales numbers are due to the team reaching the semifinals in the EURO. Or maybe even because Eriksen's near-fatal incident brought the fans closer together and made them want to show their support. But actually, this is not the case.
The shirt sold out already prior to the tournament, reaching a sales index of 163 even before the first ball was kicked. For a couple of weeks, the shirt was almost impossible to get your hands on until more shirts were produced and re-stocked.
SALES BEFORE UEFA EURO 2020: Index 163 – compared to record sales in 2018 (World Cup jersey)
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
The case proved to be good business. Looking at the marketing case as a whole and comparing expenses (agency, production and media) to the total sales, the return on the marketing investment is massive.
Campaign expenses / Revenue
= ROMI: 23
Accordingly, if we include all expenses, whatsoever, such as salaries to marketing staff and the cost of the DBU sponsorship in the period in question, the bottom-line speaks for itself.
Earnings (Revenue – costs (production, salaries etc) / All expenses (campaign expenses + DBU)
= ROI: 5