Early 2013, Tunisia was in a crisis. Not the one you're thinking about. Two years after the Arab
Spring, tension amongst the Tunisian remained. For security reasons, the Government restricted public gatherings including the professional Football League. All games had to be played without audience in stadiums. Forcing teams and their fans into a frustrating long distance relationship.
The crisis in Tunisia was a football crisis.
This is what Tunis team C.S Hammam-Lif faced at the end of a season with average results. Ties with their fans had eroded. And the most important game of the year approached: the deciding moment whether C.S Hammam-Lif would stay in the league or not. More than ever, the team needed its fans back.
It seemed impossible to spin the government decision but we could at least create the debate and force the authorities to react. How? By helping C.S. Hammam-Lif get its fans back.
Idea: We changed the problem and reinvented the game and the way people watch it. We developed a mobile application that connects fans 40 speakers inside stadiums: the 12th man app.
The app was a successful PR move that not only re-activated fans and brought them back into the game, it got the entire country involved, making headline news.
Thanks to its fans' support, C.S Hammam-Lif won by 1-0. In a stadium with the capacity of 12.000, we brought together 93,100 fans, with 1,2 million others watching the game and the entire country watching football's rebirth.
The goal was to turn sport back into a positive event. The country's national sport, which had suffered a lot in the public eye, had to be resurrected from oblivion. This would help us in generating the debate around the matter of the fans being banned from stadium and put pressure on the Government to change its decision.
The outcome was incredible. The 12th man app made headline news and got fans activated. The Tunisian football league became Number 1 topic for weeks. An even more important topic than the country's big constitutional debate. Calls for Action against the ban of fans started to spread and the Government decided to name a commission on the matter.
Energised by the support of their fans, C.S Hammam-Lif won by 1-0, securing their place in the league. In a stadium with the capacity of 12.000, the app brought together 93.100 fans, with 1.2 million others watching the game and the entire nation watching its national sport's rebirth.
A virtual experience became real and turned football into a national event to be a part of.
Videos of players asking their fans for support were posted on the Club's official medias. A press release campaign allowed the 12th Man to be talked about in all Tunisian Sports medias: press, magazines, TV and Radio shows. A Demo film of the app was also posted online targeting fan forums and Facebook pages. By virtually booking a seat on the app, the info was shared on first users social media timelines. Finally, the National TV made a special coverage just before the game starts. Live commentaries during the game also drove new users to the app.
After the game, the whole event was captured on film as a short documentary and was broadcasted on National TV during the most watched football TV show in front of over 1M people. The film introduced a debate on the topic of fans being banned from stadiums.
Two years after the Tunisian revolution, tension had still not eased entirely. So the Government restricted public gatherings for safety reasons. Unfortunately, this affected also the National Football League and games were played without audience, which caused many people to turn away from the sport. Imagine a game with only the sound of gasping players! Football was at a crisis and so was Tunis club C.S Hammam-Lif, being only one game away from dropping out of the league at the end of an average season. Facing this difficult situation, the club really needed its fans' support.
We decided to do something everyone would talk about: bring C.S Hammam-Lif fans back in the stadium. Not physically, it was forbidden but in an unconventional manner. We set out to change the game itself and the way people watch it. We wanted to empower fans and facilitate a way in which they can participate in the game again. The idea was to develop an app that connects every fan to 40 speakers inside the stadium. A simple tap on sound icons is instantly turned into powerful support: cheering, clapping, drumming, singing... The more people press, the louder the sound in the stadium.
This app was to become the first step that then snowballed nationwide interest in the game: The
12th man app.