Short List
Product/ServiceLAYS CRISPS
Category B06. Targeted Communication
Production UNIT9 London, UNITED KINGDOM
Name Company Position
Luke Purcell PepsiCo Marketing
Adam Warner PepsiCo Marketing
Kalle Hellzen 180 Amsterdam Creative
Marloes van den Berg 180 Amsterdam Production
Joe Craig 180 Amsterdam Creative
Ed Ryder 180 Amsterdam Creative
Jake Butler 180 Amsterdam art director
Jessica Gunn 180 Amsterdam Creative
Max Hurford 180 Amsterdam account management
Suzanne Whittaker 180 Amsterdam account management
Colin Pueschner 180 Amsterdam Production
Sarah Gough 180 Amsterdam Business
James Kibbey Unit 9 direction
Stephan Bischof Unit 9 Creative
Neal Bryant Unit 9 production
Harry Starkey-Midha Unit 9 production
Sophie Keyse Unit 9 production
Corneliu Ilisescu Synthesia media production
Yoan Petrov Synthesia Media Production
Jonathan Starck Synthesia Media Production
Martin Kingston Audio Archive sound Design


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 – the banter, the gossip, the 🤣🤣🤣s. 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

Imagine getting a personal invitation from legend Lionel Messi to watch the big Champions League game with your friend? Where he said your name? You wouldn’t dream of turning down the G.O.A.T, would you? Introducing Messi Messages, the future of football invitations: a marvellously unexpected twist on the boring old text message. Messi Messages is a deepfake-powered experience allowing fans from all over the world to generate their own personalised video messages from the football star himself, spoken flawlessly in their own language – perfect to wow their WhatsApp groups. With ten different language options and thousands of variables, people can generate an almost limitless number of bespoke invitations from the G.O.A.T. himself, to share in group chats and on social platforms with friends and family all over the world.

Describe the strategy

Lay’s focuses on social football fans. We love the diehards, sure, but our core audience is people who love the social experience around football. They love the electric atmosphere of coming together over the love of the game, and the feeling of being part of football’s social scene, connecting over WhatsApp groups, social media, fantasy football, fanfare and the match itself. But Covid-19 came along and put a stop to most of it. Fans weren’t able to enjoy football together. And football isn’t the same alone. That was our opportunity to be genuinely useful: to facilitate connection between social football fans (whether physically or virtually) in a way that ignited conversation, got fans excited, and was worthy of being shared in football WhatsApp groups. And we had a trump card: globally loved football superstar, Lionel Messi. The G.O.A.T himself. We made Messi the heart of the idea.

Describe the execution

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 deep-fake technology in action, where we heroed a suddenly multi-lingual 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. Individual countries drove further usage, with local influencers 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

Messi Messages is HOT People made Messi Messages every 1.43 seconds in the first 24 hours. Today, over 300,000 personalized Messi Messages have been made – and shared widely on WhatsApp and social, with strong Lay’s branding. People love it They’re spending, on average, 3.53-minutes on the site – 375% above-norms. The bounce rate is just 12.8% — that’s 416% above-norms. They’re saying things like… “THIS IS GENIUS AD CAMPAIGN” (thanks, aggressive complimenter) “Este idea es brilliante” (gracias) “One more reason to love Lays” (love you, too) Connected people We’re very proud to believe that, thanks to a Mandarin-or-Egyptian-or-whatever-speaking Messi, friends have spent more quality time together. We’re pretty dang proud We’ve entered football culture, been picked up organically by the likes of ESPN, Fox Sports, and GOAL, infiltrated WhatsApp groups, and been genuinely useful and entertaining to football fans. As Messi might say, “es incredible!”