The A-Leagues linked with agency R/GA and Bring Agency to launch the 2021/2022 A-Leagues season with new brand platform ‘Here Come the Future’ and a new anthem ‘Real Nice (H.C.T.F)’ featuring Young Franco, TKay Maidza and Nerve.
The initiative is part of the A-Leagues’ umbrella commercial strategy which aims to attract and engage a broader group of young Aussie football fans and the anthem and brand platform are designed to intersect with popular culture in an authentic way.
The kick-off campaign, which follows the appointment of R/GA to the A-Leagues account in August 2021 after a competitive pitch, is part of what the league hopes will be a new era of football in Australia with the launch of the ‘Here Comes The Future’ brand platform as well as the anthem.
The musical trio – consisting of electronic DJ and producer Young Franco, R&B lyricist and 2021 Aria Award winner Tkay Maidza and Brisbane Rapper Nerve – unite on a unique music collaboration celebrating the A-League’s’ new positioning.
Fuelled by the three artists’ shared love of football, the musicians co-wrote and recorded a new anthem ‘Real Nice (H.C.T.F.)’ in line with the new A-Leagues’ positioning ‘Here Come The Future.’
Tonight. Is. The. Night.
— KEEPUP (@keepupau) November 19, 2021
The music video for the anthem was directed by Gabriel Gasparinatos and features A-Leagues’ stars Marco Tilio (Melbourne City FC winger) and Jada Whyman (Sydney FC and Australian Matildas goalkeeper).
The video is a collaboration between some of Australia’s best young artists, illustrators and animators and it features cameos which reference football culture (including a guest appearance from commentator Simon Hill).
‘Real Nice (H.C.T.F.)’ was released on 19 November 2021 and is available on all streaming services including Spotify, SoundCloud, Deezer, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube).
The music video premiered in Channel 10’s coverage of the Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers match on 20 November and viewers can watch the full video here.
The video was further supported socially by the musicians themselves and via a behind-the-scenes video and teaser content.
A-Leagues fan and DJ @YNGFRNCO gives us a behind the scenes look into the filming of our new music video 'Real Nice (H.C.T.F.)'.
— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) December 2, 2021
According to A-Leagues Marketing & Data Director Rob Nolan, ‘Here Come the Future’ captures the essence of the future of Australian football and has the ability to reach millions of people.
“We’ve stated our ambition to reimagine the football experience for fans in Australia and this collaboration, and broader campaign, are testament to the vision,” commented Nolan. “We already know that there is a significant crossover between football and music amongst our existing fans on social media, so this cultural collaboration was the perfect fit.”
“Right from the start we set out to create a cultural movement centred around football – not just a campaign. Here Come the Future is a rallying cry to the collective of people who are not just shaping the future of the game, but the future of the country. A future that’s more diverse, creative, open and expressive,” explained R/GA Chief Creative Officer APAC Seamus Higgins. “So of course to kick that off we couldn’t just create an ad campaign. We had to create a genuine piece of culture and entertainment. We are immensely proud of what we have created together with the incredible team at the A-Leagues.”
Bring ECD James Griffiths added: “When we were approached by R/GA with their vision for the campaign we knew we could highlight the perfect artists for the campaign who would resonate with the target audience. We love an ambitious idea, we partnered with the agency and client on a collaborative journey through Universal Music’s unparalleled artist insights, developing a framework for Young Franco, TKay and Nerve to co-create the perfect song for the new brand. The track is already connecting with fans on and off the pitch.”
The campaign was created for the A-Leagues marketing team which included Managing Director Danny Townsend, CCO Ant Hearne, Director Of Marketing & Data Rob Nolan, David Davutovic, plus head Of Fan Engagement Angela Colless and Senior Marketing Manager Nathan Sammut.
The group developing the project at agency R/GA included Seamus Higgins (CCO APAC), Victoria Curro (Managing Director), Claire Waring (Executive Creative Director), Ben Newman (Associate Creative Director), Ben Miles (Executive Creative Director, Brand, Design & Consulting), Justin Phang (Creative Director), Henry Cook (Design Director), Jane Duru (Verbal Design Director), Louis Johanson, (Senior Designer), George Robertson (Group Director), Lauren Butterfield, (Group Account Director), Chris Smyth (Executive Director), Kyel Belcher (Head of Content), Josh Agnew (Account Director), Jon Holloway (Executive Strategy Director), Scott McKinnon (Senior Strategist), Callum James (Senior Social Strategist) and Matt Vandenberg (Social Media Manager).
The team that worked on the project at agency Bring included Adam Ireland (General Manager), James Griffiths (Executive Creative Director), Chris Russell (Brand Partnerships Director), Alexia Tomshin (Producer) and James Wilkinson (Creative).
Production was handled by Entropico with Directors Gabriel Gasparinatos and Erin Moy, with OMD running media.
The kick-off marketing follows on from the recent A-Leagues unification rebrand – also created by R/GA’s brand design and consulting team – introduced via a pre-season campaign called ‘We Are All The A-Leagues’ which rolled out in September.
The men’s A-League was first established in 2004 by the Football Federation Australia (FFA) as a successor to the National Soccer League (NSL), competition commenced in August 2005.
The league is currently contested by 12 teams – 11 in Australia and one in New Zealand – and the season runs from October/November to May.