How did you identify the issue to be resolved?
With Birmingham one of 16 cities around the country bidding to become part of England’s World Cup campaign, local agency S&X was commissioned by Birmingham City Council and Marketing Birmingham to develop a full brand identity to promote the city’s bid to be selected as a candidate city for England’s World Cup bid, winning the hearts and minds of the public. The campaign needed to reflect the Birmingham bid theme of ‘Participate, celebrate and integrate’, appealing to the city as a whole to unite to achieve a common goal, regardless of traditional club rivalries, reinforcing the positive image of Birmingham whilst showing mass support for the World Cup bid.
What was your innovative solution?
The focus of the ‘Back the Birmingham bid’ campaign was ‘One Kick for Birmingham’ a way of uniting people via football in the most literal way possible – by completing a series of ‘passes’ to one another. Therefore, the website launched with a video showing footballers from Midlands clubs past and present, together with high profile celebrities and campaign supporters, to string together a consecutive string of passes via use of an editing technique which saw a ball enter from the left and exit at the right.
Visitors to the website were then invited to upload their own footage to extend the video, which scrolled continuously across the screen, resulting in a ‘neverending’ chain of passes between the people of Birmingham. The campaign united people of all backgrounds, from children to the corporate community – and even the odd canine participant, too!
Another facet of the campaign was ‘Football in Harmony’ a photography project by Ravi Deepres, Birmingham based photographer, who was commissioned to take a series of images in Birmingham representing the love of football across different cultures in the city. One of the key strengths of Birmingham’s campaign was the multi-cultural make-up of the city, demonstrating how it can provide a ‘home’ crowd to any participating team.
Finally, a fully faceted social media campaign allowed users to engage with the campaign and win great ‘Back the Birmingham Bid’ merchandise, including goody bags, t-shirts, footballs and even chocolate footballs made by Cadbury to support the bid!
What tools did you use?
A full suite of social media to support campaign was seen as driver for pledges.
Facebook Group, Flickr Group, You Tube page and regular tweets were used to communicate with the public, with regular ‘Guess the score’ competitions before every game played by a Midlands team leading to lively debate and good natured humour between fans of different clubs.
Most importantly, what impact did your project have?
With only limited time to formulate the campaign concept, including strong visual branding, the project was delivered in record time. Indeed, other bidding cities were at an advanced stage of their campaign at the time Birmingham’s bid got underway, and still the online offering went a long way in helping the campaign to catch up, and overtake other bid destinations.
Working with partners, stakeholders, city organisations, we drew upon our databases of local celebrity contacts in order to draw supporters for the campaign.
The innovative idea of One Kick film received high praise from the FA, and its fun interactive nature drew a high profile support for Birmingham, encouraging members of the public to get involved.
However, the most demonstrable evidence of the success of the campaign was the fact that Birmingham was selected to go forward in the FA’s World Cup 2018 bid, which will be submitted to FIFA later this month.