Former star player Rivaldo returned to FC Barcelona to go undercover at a team training session disguised as Betfair competition winner Roberto Da Silva.
The stunt aimed to surprise players and fans alike as he astonishes with his stunning skills and classy control.
On Sunday 15 January a group of Barca superfans, selected out of thousands of entrants from around the world as part of Betfair’s #MagicOfBarça competition (see previous case study), were invited to watch the squad train and take part in one of their legendary ‘Rondo’ sessions.
Unbeknown to anyone, the 1999 Ballon d’Or winner and FC Barcelona legend was also visiting the training ground – but he was in disguise and unrecognisable in prosthetics, fake hair, beard and nose.
The session culminated in an 11 a-side match-up in which Rivaldo came on as a subsitute for the losing team and rolled out some of his famous tricks, turns and touches.
When the retired star revealed his true identity post-game, the reaction of the FC Barcelona fans is striking.
In addition to the experience itself, the stunt was captured on film and amplified across both the club and BetFair’s social channels – from YouTube to Twitter – linked by the #MagicOfBarça hashtag.
— Betfair (@Betfair) January 19, 2017
‘Taking part in Betfair’s MagicOfBarça experience was great fun, I have never done anything like that before,’ commented Rivaldo.
‘There were a couple of moments when I thought people suspected I was someone else but when I saw the fans surprised faces at the end of the match I knew we pulled it off. I loved being back playing on the pitch in Barca, even if it wasn’t my best performance of my career!’
‘It’s a privilege to be associated with such a great club like FC Barcelona and in line with Betfair’s customer driven ethos we want the fans to feel the benefit first and foremost,’ says BetFair marketing director Paul Gambrill.
‘Since our partnership started at the beginning of this season, we’ve been working with FC Barcelona to deliver our MagicOfBarça campaign which is not only about celebrating the magic on the pitch but creating moments of magic for fans that live beyond the match. In true Price Rush spirit we wanted to give fans a truly unique and inspiring experience, one that was better than they bargained for and it was a pleasure to work with Rivaldo to help us achieve this.’
Robert Taylor, FC Barcelona Superfan and Brazilian BetFair Competition Winner, added: ‘The Rivaldo surprise was fantastic I didn’t know that it was him in disguise. To play alongside a hero of mine from when I was growing up was a beautiful moment and a memory I will never forget.’
This leverage strand continues the club’s betting partner’s ongoing #MagicOfBarca activation programme
The objective of BetFair’s ‘Magic Of Barca’ activation is to build anticipation and excitement in line with the bookie’s existing, umbrella ‘Ready?’ brand positioning via a series of strategic partnerships, pioneering collaborations, blockbuster content and memorable fan experiences.
This stunt was fun (and racked up a solid 327,914 YouTube views in its first four days), but it is not a particularly new trick.
After all, we have seen plenty of famous sports star disguise stunt spots in recent years.
Last summer we saw Chris Kamara’s ‘Your (Tube) Seat / Your Euros Ticket’ for UEFA Euro 2016 sponsor Carlsberg (see case study) and Christiano Ronaldo’s ROC spot in Madrid (see case study), while other examples of the format range from Michael Vaughan’s ‘Secret Cricketer’ for NatWest (see case study), the Spanish national team’s pre Brazil 2014 stunt for sponsor Movistar (see case study) and, perhaps the most successful of all, Pepsi and Kyrie Irving’s ‘Uncle Drew’ series (see case study).
Plus, at Activative, we will always remember Rivaldo for his very own, in-game, Oscar-winning play-acting stunt at the 2002 World Cup.