With fans banned from attending any local matches, as the main sponsor of Al-Ahly FC and the brand that stands for empowering everybody to be confidently connected, Vodafone felt the need to reconnect the players and the fans, and make their presence be felt once again. `
Accordingly, we invited fans to send their pictures to be placed on stadium seats during matches as a symbolic gesture of presence; switching it from a stadium ban to stadium banners.
Fans also had the opportunity to have their photos printed on the numbers of the official players’ jerseys worn during matches.
To invite the fans to send their pictures, Vodafone collaborated with the stars of Al-Ahly and its entire staff to feature in a piece of content. The players sang a song combining two of their fans’ most iconic stadium chants, their lyrics were altered to pay tribute to the fans themselves.
#FansComeFirst was created as a carrier for our campaign; launched with content featuring Al-Ahly players singing a combined anthem of two of their fans’ most iconic stadium chants by altering their lyrics to honor the fans themselves. The whole meaning was switched to address the fans; “from fans to players” to “players to fans“; which instantly took the content viral.
The content acted as an online invitation, on the brand’s owned social media assets, to fans to send their photos to the dedicated Vodafone number to be placed on stadium seats during matches as a symbolic gesture of presence; switching it from stadium ban to stadium banners. Fans were also given opportunity to have their photos placed on the players’ back jersey during matches.
After the success the organic efforts achieved, content was taken to TV during Al-Ahly matches, focused airing during matches and highly viewed specific football analysis studios.
A Brand-first 1 million view organic reach in 6 hours overnight, 2 million organic ones in a week, leading to a total of 5.9 million organic reach by July 2016 from 19 April; launch date.
#FansComeFirst online anthem generated an unprecedented positive engagement across Vodafone‘s social media platforms.
Looking at Facebook,
- 83,000 organic shares in 24 hours which recorded the highest ever shares on Vodafone’s page within a day.
- 98% of the interactions on the Vodafone page were of positive sentiments. The online post scored the highest love reaction engagement throughout all Vodafone page posts, totaling 188,000.
- An 863% increase in the brand’s Facebook engagement levels.
- Launch date marked the highest engagement rate day ever on the Vodafone page; a 200% engagement-rate increase during this month versus average engagement rate.
Looking at Twitter, a user-generated Arabic term “Vodafone’s newest” trended in Egypt on the launch day.
Attempting to revitalize the connection between Al-Ahly FC and its fans despite their stadium ban, Vodafone Egypt launched their #FansComeFirst campaign through a multiple phase communication plan across various mediums; starting with an online piece of content that invited fans to send their pictures in.
Following that, in an unplanned action by the brand, it was taken to TV and other mass-targeting digital mediums and aired during matches. Vodafone stores were turned into photo-booths, stadiums were turned into an imagery fan album. Player jersey numbers were turned into a 90-minute mobile display. Digital OOH displayed the ad during the launch.
Insights, Strategy and the Idea
With fans being banned from attending any local matches, Vodafone Egypt faced difficulties to fully leverage its multi-million dollar sponsorship of Al-Ahly FC, resulting in not taking full advantage of a key contributing factor to its emotional connection with its customers.
A brand that is all about enabling people by confidently connecting them was suddenly not able to connect to its own supporters.
As the leading telecommunications brand in Egypt, Vodafone opted to prove that a physical disconnection does not mean no connection.