Xbox Film, Outdoor, Digital, DM, Case study Football Decoded [Case Study] by McCann London

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Football Decoded [Case Study]

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Industry Video Games/Consoles, Sports Teams & Events
Media Film, Outdoor, Billboard, Poster, Transportation & Vehicles, Digital, Interactive & Mobile, Direct marketing, Case study
Market United Kingdom
Agency McCann London
Chief Creative Officer Laurence Thomson, Rob Doubal
Creative Director Jamie Mietz, Sanjiv Mistry
Creative Jim Nilsson, Jacob Bjordal
Production Somesuch & Co
Director Omri Cohen
Service Agency Craft
Released June 2018


Clio Awards 2018
Branded Content Product/Service: Other Gold
Direct Product/Service: Out of Home Gold
Social Media Product/Service: Multi-Platform Campaign Bronze
Out of Home Product/Service: Takeover Bronze

Credits & Description

McCANN LONDON London, United Kingdom Entrant Company
McCANN LONDON London, United Kingdom Idea Creation
CRAFT WORLDWIDE London, United Kingdom Production
SOMESUCH London, United Kingdom Production
McCANN LONDON London, United Kingdom Production
CARAT London, United Kingdom Media Placement
MICROSOFT CORPORATION Reading, United Kingdom Additional Company
Chief Creative Officers, McCann London: Rob Doubal and Laurence Thomson
EMEA Creative Directors, McCann London: Sanjiv Mistry and Jamie Mietz
Senior Creatives, McCann London: Jacob Björdal and Jim Nilsson
Account Manager, McCann London: Robert Stockton
Account Directors, McCann London: Francois d’Espagnac, Matteo Della Venezia and Tom Oliver
Regional Business Director, McCann London: Sailesh Jani
EVP, McCann London: Rob Smith
Senior Project Manager, McCann London: Paul Gillespie
Producers, CRAFT: Claire Colohan and Rebecca Wilford
Chief Production Officer, CRAFT: Sergio Lopez
Head of Planning, McCann London: Karen Crum
Senior Planner, McCann London: Fanni David
Planning Intern, McCann London: Jack Goss
Director, Somesuch: Omri Cohen
DOP, Somesuch: Todd Martin
Producer, Somesuch: Louise Gagen
Executive Producer, Somesuch: Seth Wilson
Composers, Somesuch: Reimer Eisig and Lennard van der Last
Music Supervisor, CRAFT: Chris Graves
Senior Sound Engineer and Sound Engineer, CRAFT: Adam Smyth and Giselle Hall
Editors, CRAFT: Mariona Sauret, Adam Ryzman and Francis Harris
Production Manager, 247: Miriam Sasiain
Production Coordinator, 247: Yasmina Ikimou
1st AD, 247: Lucas Cuevas
2nd AD, 247: Frodo Martinez
Ext. Producer, 247: Ivo Van Vollenhoven
Producer, 247: Bea Cañete
Artworker, Craft/McCann: Joe Richardson
Print Producer, Craft/McCann: Liam White
Studio Manager, Craft/McCann: Ellis Faint
Published: June 2018
‘FIFA 18’, the latest in the football videogame series, was going to be crucial for Xbox. However, Xbox’s competitor PlayStation had paid a fortune to buy all the marketing rights for the game. It meant that while PlayStation had total freedom to advertise the game any way they wanted and across all media, we at Xbox had the opposite – a 100% ban on marketing the game. We couldn’t even show our own game packshot. How could Xbox market a game they were forbidden from marketing?
The situation was an almost impossible one for Xbox. Forbidden from mentioning FIFA, showing any game assets or even a packshot meant that we had to approach the problem laterally. So we leveraged the one thing with a bigger and more passionate fan base than videogame football – actual football. By partnering with a highly influential club and and translating their actual football matches, gamers would know that what we were really talking about was ‘FIFA 18’, even though that was never explicitly mentioned.
- Over 100 million impressions
- Reached 650 million spectators per match (x 12 matches)
- FIFA unique player base grew by 10% year-on-year from launch through to Q3
The ‘Football Decoded’ campaign consisted of stadium perimeter boards, commentary, print, online video, social videos and an interactive installation – all of which decoded real football moves into the Xbox button combinations needed to perform them on Xbox’s version of ‘FIFA 18’. The campaign launched on 21 September 2017, with an end date of 30 May 2018. Campaign touchpoints were rolled out to coincide with key Real Madrid matches, to ensure maximum reach. Perimeter boards first appeared during El Clásico, the much-watched match between Madrid and Barcelona, while post-match reports followed the Champions League quarter final. Overall, the partnership with Real Madrid was decided upon due to their scale and quality (most valuable sports brand according to Forbes; 290 million social followers; 4.5 million stadium visitors p/a etc.). This meant that a larger cross-section of gamers learned new Xbox FIFA skills from some of the best footballers on the planet.
Campaign Description
In partnership with the world’s most influential football club, Real Madrid, and along with a world-class FIFA gamer, we ensured that every pass, every shot, every possible combination on the pitch was translated into the corresponding Xbox controller buttons for ‘FIFA 18’, in real time. This partnership constantly linked FIFA with Xbox, without ever mentioning the game or contravening the marketing exclusivity deal. Gamers started translating their own matches, from classic black-and-white ones found online to their school matches to casual beach football. The campaign enabled Xbox to put a stamp of ownership on the skills of world-class footballers, allowing the massive global football fanbase to re-create these skills on Xbox. From perimeter boards to commentary to reactive social and even post-match reports, every touchpoint didn’t just advertise FIFA – it made gamers better at it on Xbox.