2018 Brand Experience & Activation


Category E02. Sponsorship & Brand Partnership
Production PRODIGIOUS Brussels, BELGIUM
Production 2 ROSES ARE BLUE Mechelen, BELGIUM
Name Company Position
Rom&John Publicis Creation
Massimo De Pascale Publicis Creation
Fran├žois Massinon Publicis Creation
Kwint De Meyer Publicis Creation
Willem De Wachter Publicis Creation
Filip Van Der Haegen Publicis Account
Axelle Gontier Publicis Account
Jan Govaert Publicis Strategy
Fiona Boyle Publicis Strategy
Gijs Polspoel Roses Are Blue Producer
Bas Van Hoof Roses Are Blue Producer
Marc Van Buggenhout Prodigious Producer
Daan Feytongs Prodigious Producer
Robbe Demuynck Roses Are Blue Producer

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation ?

During the World Cup, Orange needed to cut through communication clutter to reach Belgium's football fans. With Radja Nainggolan not being selected for Belgium's official national team, we hacked the way brands sponsor football by sponsoring a player that's not even playing. In a unique social media series, the most talked about Red Devil sabotaged Belgium's opponents pre-game. The campaign made people experience the brand in a surprising way and worked very activating as football fans shared the content we created (without any incentive). Resulting in a brand experience that only a bold challenger brand like Orange can make credible.


The Football World Cup is not only the biggest sporting event in the world, it's also the biggest global marketing competition, opening a merciless sponsorship fight between brands. Unfortunately, Orange Telecom lost the fight against its main competitor, who became the official sponsor of the Belgian Red Devils, Belgium's national football team. So how could Orange Belgium still gain some visibility during the World Cup, while they could not even legally mention or show the national football team or the World Cup? A clear objective was set, find a way to create a memorable brand experience and visibility for Orange Belgium during the World Cup. And then something unexpected happened: Radja Nainggolan, one of Belgium's star players, was not selected for Belgium's national team in the World Cup. A drama for the whole country and front page news far beyond Belgian borders.

Describe the creative idea

With Radja no longer being part of the official national team, we hacked the way brands traditionally sponsor football by sponsoring a player who's not even playing. Orange and Radja were both kicked out of the World Cup, so by teaming up they became part of the competition again. Radja wasn't able to help his teammates win on the court, but thanks to Orange he was able to help other teams lose. In a unique web series, the most talked about Red Devil sabotages Belgium's opponents with the help of his Orange Unlimited tariff plan.

Describe the strategy

During one of the heaviest marketing moments in sports, the main target group, Belgian football fans, get overwhelmed by brands wanting their attention. If we wanted to create visibility and make people truly experience the Orange brand, we had to stand out and be relevant to football fans. Orange Belgium is a bold challenger brand in the Belgian telco landscape, a brand positioning that came to life by challenging sponsorship conventions through sponsoring a player that wasn't even playing the World Cup. A player that perfectly matches Orange Belgium's brave and daring attitude. Instead of pushing irrelevant communication and trying to benefit from the World Cup, we entered football fans' world with topics they were actually talking about: Radja and the upcoming games.

Describe the execution

After being left out of the official team selection, Radja Nainggolan publicly claimed he would be national team's number 1 supporter. We then created a unique social media series in which Radja sabotages Belgium's opponents in bold ways with the help of his Orange Unlimited tariff plan. Before each game a new episode was created adapted to the next opponent. Three weeks of entertaining social content that aired on each match-day of team Belgium. The highly shareable content was spread out via Radja's Instagram and on the Orange Facebook page and Instagram account.

List the results

The hugely engaging social media series attracted an average of 7 million views per match, a total of 89 million impressions and 3.8 million shares on Instagram and Facebook. The stories got picked up in national and international press and were even discussed in pre-game analysis during live TV. By creating brand entertainment that was actually entertaining and relevant, Orange managed to create a lot of awareness and an immediate lift in likeability for the brand. All this, spending only 2.6% of the official sponsor's budget. And oh, thanks to Orange, the Belgian Red Devils finished third in the World Cup.