MobiAD Archives

World Cup Special –
Mobile Advertising & Football!

mfootball_leader.jpgThe World Cup is the world’s most popular sporting competition, with more people watching the football matches than any other event.

A few months ago MobiAD’s Jim Cook participated at the M-Football event in London. On the panel were several mobile agencies and a mobile operator each of whom had run successful campaigns based around football and sports.

In this article we’ll look at several of these campaigns, covering a wide range of brands and campaign mechanics. The common thread is that they all successfully used sports to build a connection between the brands and their audiences.

The M-FOOTBALL conference was intended to give marketers insight into the kinds of mobile marketing that is possible around major sporting events. Several leading mobile agencies and a mobile operator participated, including Marvellous, AKQA, InsideMobile, Sponge, Starfish Mobile, and Turkcell.

In this article we’ll look at three of the football-focused campaigns that were presented at the conference.

  • Adidas – “Dream Big, Impossible is Nothing”
    – Europe 2008 (Marvellous)
  • Garanti Bank – “Team Turko”, a mobile advergame (Turkcell)
  • Coca-Cola– “Win A Player” (Sponge)

Brand: Adidas
Agency: Marvellous
Campaign: “Dream Big, Impossible is Nothing”

Adidas was one of the official sponsors for the Europe 2008 Football tournament, and they wanted to use the occasion to connect with one of their most important audiences.

Specifically, they wanted:

  • bring the event and the stars closer to their supporters
  • bring product information in an innovative way
  • inspire fans and give them unique content for “social currency”

Marvellous created a multi-faceted campaign that included exclusive content from 10 of the world’s top footballers, and used various mobile technologies to insure that the content would be released throughout the course of the competition.


The campaign included small “lessons” from some of the famous players, a full Europe 2008 mobile web site, and a 3-on-3 mobile football game that could be played by two people if they were within Bluetooth range.

mfootball_marvellous3.jpg The campaign also included full information about Adidas football shoes in special “boot showrooms”.

In total, the “Dream Big” campaign covered 14 different markets, involved 49 different mobile media partners, utilized 32 bluetooth units throughout Europe, and close to 100K game downloads for the world’s first branded multi-player bluetooth game.

And most importantly, one million “brand minutes” were created for Adidas.


Some of the key learnings cited by Marvellous from this campaign are:

• In countries with low inventory for mobile display ads, Bluetooth integration is key
• Search was the most cost effective traffic driver whereas SMS broadcast the least, mobile display was in the middle.
• Add qualitative research into the campaign to understand consumer reaction & levels of advocacy


Brand: Garanti Bank
Mobile operator: Turkcell
Camaign: “Turko 2008” – Europe 2008 Championship

Turkcell is the largest mobile operator in Turkey, with well over 50% market share. Over the years they have also been one of the most advanced operators globally in terms of innovation and commitment in the area of mobile advertising.

One interesting approach of Turkcell is that they often work directly with major brands to create and execute major mobile marketing campaigns. In this case, the brand was Garanti Bank, the number 2 bank in Turkey and an official sponsor of the Turkish national football team.

However, for Europe 2008, Garanti was not the only sponsor – other big brands such as Coca-cola, Mercedes, and Nike were sponsoring as well. So Garanti Bank came to Turkcell looking for a campaign that would differentiate them the other sponsors of the team, as well as provide a platform that could last beyond the championship itself.

And so the “Turko 2008” campaign was born – a football-based mobile “advergame” that had characters based on the actual members of the national team.



The campaign also ran a major media blitz utilizing all traditional media channels to promote the game – almost 2000 TV spots, 50 press ads, 3200 radio spots, 1250 outdoor panels, and web banners worth of over 70 million impressions.

The results were very successful:


  • A mobile advergaming record in Turkey: 240.000 downloads in just one month (and this was in 2008!)
  • Good usage: the game was launched minimum 3 times after installation
  • A long lasting campaign: 86 % of the gamers still kept the game in their mobile phones after two months

Not only was Turko 2008 a popular game, but it worked well for Garanti Bank, with over 90% of the gamers correctly linking “Turko 2008″ with the Garanti Bank brand.

TURKO 2008 TV ad
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Brand: Coca-Cola
Agency: Sponge
Campaign: Win A Player

This campaign was quite different from the others. First of all, it is a campaign that was built around SMS. This turns out to be very relevant, as one of the main messages that came out of the M-Football event was that many fans still don’t own fancy smartphones, so it is important to communicate with them using an appropriate medium.

Also, instead of focusing on an international championship or the national team, Coca-cola wanted to build more local support by working with a wide variety of more local teams.


One of the biggest problems for local teams is having enough financial resources to be able to afford to acquire great players. So Coke launched a competition in which fans could vote for their favorite team, and one of the teams would be given £250,000 to “buy” a new player.

mfootball-coke2.jpgFans could vote either by SMS or online, and were limited to one vote per day. However the intention was that word of the context would spread virally as fans would encourage each other to vote often for their team.

To make the campaign more interactive, fans who sent in an entry by text would also receive an SMS in reply, with some very topical comment about the team they had voted for. By “speaking the language of football”, the brand was able to create a stronger connection with the fans.

This competition generated millions of entries, and the winning team – Brighton & Hove Albion – was able to purchase the services of Colin Kazim-Richards, who became known as the “Coca-Cola Kid“.


This competition was very popular, and Coca-Cola ran it for a couple of seasons. In later years they modified it to become the “Buy A Player” competition, in which fans could buy a Coke product to get a special code. Sending in the code counted as a vote for their team, and the individual teams would receive funds to buy players depending on the number of votes they received.


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