THE FANAGER

TitleTHE FANAGER
BrandGAIS
Category G04. Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
Product/ServiceSEASON TICKETS FOR FOOTBALL TEAM GAIS
Entrant MILK Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Idea Creation MILK Gothenburg, SWEDEN
PR MILK Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Production MILK Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Credits
Name Company Position
Anders Malm Milk Copywriter
Niklas Olovsson Milk Art Director
Andreas Bergendahl Milk Art Director
Anders Holmström Milk Copywriter
Kristofer Salsborn Milk Art Director
Anna Reynold Milk Account Director
Marcus Aggfelt Milk Production Manager

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

Our aim was to sell more season tickets and strengthen the bond between Swedish elite football team GAIS and their fans. We gave GAIS fans the chance to coach the team for one game as the world’s first Fanager. To get picked for the position, you had to buy a season ticket and apply for the job. The campaign not only increased the sales of season tickets, it also created a stronger bond between the club and its supporters, as the appointed Fanager interacted with fans on social media throughout the season.

Background

GAIS is one of the oldest football clubs in Sweden. And their supporters are known for their passion. But a long run of bad results means that the club has lost its reputation and sales of season tickets has dropped to an all-time low. To strengthen the relationship with its fans, and sell more season tickets, GAIS offered one lucky fan the chance of coaching the team for one game during the league. All the fans needed to do was to buy a season ticket and then apply for the position as the Fanager. Our objective was to increase sales of season tickets and to build the club’s brand. Season ticket sales increased with 21,9 %. And we strengthened the relationship between fans and the club by letting the Fanager prove that football is a team effort where fans and players win and lose together.

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

Our idea came from a simple creative insight. When your favourite team loses, fans are frustrated and want to help their team win. So we did what had never been done before and let a real fan coach the team in a league game. Realising every fans fantasy of coaching their team. The Fanager was in charge of everything that the regular manager does - team selection, tactics, training, motivational speeches, sponsorship duties and post-game interviews. The Fanager also became a link between club and fans during the season as he asked other fans for advice, shared his coaching ideas and showed just how hard the team works for one game on GAIS’ social media outlets. By breaking the barrier between the team and fans we managed to build the GAIS brand, strengthen the relationship with club and fans as well as increase the number of season tickets sold.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

After years of bad results and season ticket sales at an all-time low we needed to tap into the mind of GAIS fans that had stopped buying season tickets. It turned out fans had stopped going to the game because they felt the club was making bad decisions and had stopped listening to their fans. We needed to prove that GAIS depend on their fans. By giving GAIS fans the chance of a lifetime - to actually coach the team - we convinced them to reconnect with the club. To become Fanager, the fans needed to buy a season ticket and then formally apply for the position. A clear-cut CTA for GAIS and an incredible opportunity for the fans. The club used this campaign to show fans how much work goes into one game by having the Fanager communicating with other fans on social media throughout the season.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

When it was time to renew season tickets we released a video saying that the club would let season ticket holders apply to the Fanager position and coach the team for one game during the upcoming season. Since the media budget for the campaign was very low, we utilized the team’s own social media channels, which is where the target group hangs out. Then we fed news outlets and national media picked up the story. After that social media exploded. The selected Fanager was presented via a live press conference, together with the club’s officials and regular coaching team. During the season the Fanager communicated with fans on GAIS’ social media channels and shared his thoughts on how he would coach the team, asking for advice and documenting the training sessions he led. Showing other fans just how much work goes into one game.

List the results (30% of vote)

The Fanager made GAIS the centre of attention for Swedish football during the season. We increased season ticket sales with 21,9 % and received thousands of applications for the job. Social media interactions went up by 259 % and 18,5 minutes of coverage on national TV and radio. The campaign resulted in a strengthened relationship between fans and club, as fans learnt how much work goes into preparing for one game. Oh, yeah… and the Fanager lost his game.

Please tell us about the social behaviour and / or cultural insights that inspired your campaign

This campaign is inspired by the universal behaviour of football fans everywhere - when their team loses everyone questions the coach’s tactics. 
“The coach got the game all wrong!” “They need to play this way!” “We should defend more.” “Yeah, and attack more!” “Why did that guy start?” “Who put him in goal?”

 At the heart of the campaign is the simple truth that every fan think he/she can do better than the coach. Inspired by this behaviour, we gave fans of the Swedish elite football team GAIS the chance to coach their team for one game during the season.