With an impeccable career of 31 wins and the title of world’s youngest Olympic boxing medalist, UK boxing legend Amir Khan faced a setback after being defeated by Canelo Alvarez. The news claimed his career was over.
At a time when nobody backed a down-and-out Khan as brand ambassador, Sting decided to take up the opportunity and remake the boxer's reputation by re-energizing him back into the ring. Tapping into Khan's Pakistani heritage, Sting invited him to Pakistan and showcased an entire city as a gym and its people as coaches. The Mughal city of Lahore, and its residents, stepped up.
A digitally led campaign by the name of #StingChallenge was launched, inviting Pakistanis to challenge and train Khan.
Following a short teaser, an online film was launched that marked the beginning of Khan's #StingChallenge. The film showed the boxer training in the old city of Lahore using unconventional means: parkour on the rooftops of this old Mughal city, training with local wrestlers, jumping over rickshaws, shadowboxing with clotheslines. The film ended with a call to action: "Dare to challenge Amir Khan"
Following the video every week a challenge post would be created which called out the digital audience to help train Khan by giving him challenges. The audience came up with incredibly creative challenges using local techniques (such as boxing to the tune of a traditional drum beat) and Khan met them head-on.
Khan performed a total of 6 challenges that were high in demand. The consumer promotion rewarded top 5 winners with tickets to Amir's next fight.
The campaign was one of the most successful ones that PepsiCo has ever run. It not only firmly re-established Sting in the market as an energy drink, with a boost in energy credentials by 8 massive points, brand love credentials were also boosted by 8 points. The online film alone gained a cumulative of 13 million views online and was the fastest to reach 10 million in PepsiCo's history. Total campaign views were over 16 million. Total impressions of the campaign crossed the 100 million mark. In a complete knockout of the competition, sales increased by an incredible 30 PERCENT during and following the campaign. The brand's efforts also brought back Amir Khan into the boxing ring, and he will competing on 21st of April in 2018. Not only had we remade a brand, we had also re-energized a boxer.
This is the incredible true story of how an energy drink remade a boxer, and by actively involving young sports-mad fans, helped him get back in the ring.
Starting with a branded launch film, and following it with specifically targeted branded online videos that were shot according to audience suggestions or challenges, the campaign is one of the most successful examples of how popular branded entertainment and use of talent can not only revive a brand, but also remake an athlete. Amir Khan is back again and is going to fight in the welterweight division on 21st April, 2018.
A teaser campaign established the appearance of a mysterious figure "running around Lahore"; Followed by a highly successful launch film which established our creative idea. Digital billboards and outdoor boards around the country further emphasized the message that Khan was in Pakistan to train.
Each week, a challenge post would be created and uploaded on Sting's social media, inviting the audience to become Khan's coach. Through social listening we would identify which of the challenges was in high demand, and Khan would take it up. As a result, each challenge met created more online content and invited further challenge, even from Pakistan's former cricket captain, Shoaib Malik and MMA pioneer Bashir Ahmad.
The challenges were targeted towards 18-23 year olds, sports enthusiasts, energy drink fans. On facebook a simple comment would suffice as a challenge entry whereas in twitter people were required to use hashtag #StingChallenge to post a challenge.