Every group of mates, every team, every football fan has multiple WhatsApp and messenger chats where things are organized, memes are shared and banter happens.
This campaign didn't just infiltrate an ad-free medium (although we did). We got millions of people all around the world to invite Lay's into personal football banter that only happens between best mates and on platforms where sponsors aren't welcome. Taking Lay’s sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League to the next level by understanding where football culture starts — chat groups.
Lay’s has proudly sponsored the UEFA Champions League for years. We’re all around the pitch, in ad breaks and social, we sponsor amazing players like Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, and Lieke Martens.
But the sponsorship game is intense. It’s cluttered. We faced ﬁerce competition from other brands, everywhere. We wanted to stand out in a way that built on Lay’s long history of galvanising social connection.
So we focused on earning a place where brands aren’t normally able to advertise, and aren’t particularly welcome. Private messaging groups. The holy grail of earned media. The groups where all the real football chat happens.
There was no buying our way in, though. We had to do something genuinely interesting and useful to fans – something that entered football culture and created conversation. Something totally unlike any other brand. Challenge accepted.
Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)
TV is now the second screen, especially when it comes to football. The camaraderie and banter that once happened when mates watched matches in the same room, now take place through messaging apps.
So, imagine if a video message from legend Lionel Messi popped up in one of your chats — where he says YOUR name and invites YOU to watch the game, you wouldn’t dream of turning down the G.O.A.T, would you?
Introducing Messi Messages: the future of football invites.
Messi Messages is a deepfake-powered experience allowing fans from all over the world to create their own personalised video messages from the football star himself, spoken ﬂawlessly in their own language. With ten language options and thousands of variables, people can generate an almost limitless number of bespoke messages to share in group chats and on social platforms.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
Lay’s focuses on social football fans, those who love the experience and camaraderie around watching football.
Today, the most personal and richest social football experiences happen on social messaging platforms. Brand-free zones where all sponsors are shut out.
In order to go where no brand had gone before and become part of real, personal football conversations, we needed to find a way to infiltrate these spaces.
So we played our trump card: globally loved football superstar, Lionel Messi. The G.O.A.T himself. We made Messi the heart of the idea, our Trojan horse, who not only unlocked access to private football conversation, but got people to share Lay’s content with their mates.
Describe the execution (20% of vote)
We launched Messi Messages through (the real) Messi – he invited his 295m social followers to visit the website and create their own personalised message in any of ten languages.
Our tongue-in-cheek ﬁlm showed the innovative deepfake technology in action, where we heroed a suddenly multilingual Messi, proudly announcing the “increíble/
невероятный/inanılmaz/incredible” technology as if he could speak Spanish, Russian, Turkish, and English. “Wow!” exclaim impressed fans, because – wow, indeed.
Local influencers drove usage in specific countries, posting their stunned reactions to receiving personal invites from Messi, teaching their followers how to use the technology, and encouraging them to visit the website.
An additional educational ﬁlm ran to ensure that people were crystal clear on how to make their own personalised message from the G.O.A.T.
List the results (30% of vote)
Messi Messages became part of football culture.
It’s been used A LOT:
1.43 Messages were created per second in the first 24 hours. To date, over 4.5 million personalised Messi Messages have been made – all living second lives when shared on WhatsApp and social, with strong Lay’s branding.
People love it:
They’ve been spending an average of 4 minutes on the site – 375% above-norms.
The bounce rate is a tiny 7% — that’s 800% above-norms.
We blew up social, with people saying...
“THIS IS A GENIUS AD CAMPAIGN”
“Este idea es brilliante”
“One more reason to love Lay’s”
It was picked up organically by ESPN, inﬁltrated WhatsApp groups and was genuinely useful and entertaining to football fans.
And the best results of all, which are a bit harder to measure; friends spending more quality time together. Something we could all use a little more of.