Pele/Ronaldo Lead Emirates World Cup ‘#AllTimeGreats’

Who is the greatest footballer of all time? Every football fan has an opinion!


This is the never ending debate that lies at the heart of FIFA global partner Emirates’ Brazil 2014 activation.


The campaign is fronted by two candidates for ‘greatest’ debate – Pele and Cristiano Ronaldo – and led by a 60-second spot premièred at a press launch in Madrid where the airline unveiled Portugal captain and Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo as its latest global ambassador.


Pele himself first aligned with Emirates in 2013 when Emirates became the official airline and shirt sponsor of the NASL‘s New York Cosmos (a team which has Pelé has its honorary president). He then became an Emirate’s global spokesman in January 2014.


‘Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé are well-known around the world,’ says Emirates Corporate Communications and Brand SVP Boutros Boutros.


‘It is not only that their names and faces are synonymous with top-quality football, but also that they have the ability to inspire and connect with people within and beyond the sports arena.’


The commercial’s creative takes place in the onboard lounge of an Emirates Airbus A380 where a chance meeting occurs between the two footballing icons of their generation


A scenario that neatly fits with the recent 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or award ceremony which saw Pele hand Ronaldo this year’s trophy.


The spot was developed in partnership with agency Impact BBDO Dubai and launched into the digital space in late March.



The debate is the fulcrum around which Emirates is connecting with football fan passions in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup – where fans will see the latest crop of contenders make a bid for greatness.


The campaign is further supported by print and outdoor work, but it is online (from web ads to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube strands) that lies at its heart as the FIFA partner is encouraging consumers to add their own comments and share their opinions via the campaign hashtag #AllTimeGreat.


In April, Emirates followed up the film by launching the interactive platform for the ‘Hero: All Time Greats’ initiative in partnership with Microsoft.


Seeking to further deepen this global World Cup campaign, the online effort is running in 25 markets – including the USA and World Cup host nation Brazil – and has been translated into 12 languages.


The Microsoft platform is running under the auspices of the Microsoft Advertising division.


It includes an MSN homepage takeover in 24 countries, presence on Bing’s news, Sports, Travel, Finance, health and Food & Drink sites, an in-banner video on Xbox that is activated by a user-initiated action and can be expanded to full video when selected, a Windows 8 app-led tie-in and a masthead-format homepage takeover on Skype featuring a 10-second sneak peek of the film (where visitors can then click through to view the full film)


In total the campaign spans four different Microsoft-related screens: PC, TV, tablet and mobile.


This Microsoft tie-in aims to raise campaign awareness amoung the young, tech-savvy, adult football fans who will be the frequent travellers of tomorrow by driving views of the ‘Hero: All Times Greatest’ spot and drive follow on consumer debate.


Also, as part of the deal negotiated by Havas Media Group, Microsoft is designing the Emirates Airline page on the MSN World Cup channel which features specially designed page skins and takeovers.


‘For this digital campaign, we were looking at reaching as many customers across as many platforms as possible. We chose Microsoft as one of our partners for this campaign because of the multiple touch points they were able to offer,’ outlines Emirates SVP Advertising Christopher Galanto.


‘As a global airline, we wanted a partner with a truly global reach to emphasise our global brand presence. We were also attracted to Microsoft’s ability to offer consistent formats across markets with the reassurance of a brand safe environment.’


‘Emirates came to us with the challenge of opening up its premium brand to a wider audience, both for this brand campaign and beyond. Specifically, through views of the ‘Hero’ video it wants to raise brand awareness among a younger, tech-savvy demographic increasingly accustomed to frequent travelling: the business travellers of tomorrow,’ explains Microsoft Advertising & Online CVP Frank Holland.


Holland adds that it is Microsoft’s ability to offer a ‘seamless experience for these consumers across platforms, screens and markets means that we are able to provide a valuable brand connection to the target demographic wherever they are and on whatever device they are using.’




The iconic player approach follows Emirates 2006 strategy when it brought German legend Franz Beckenbauer on board as a brand ambassador.


The airline’s says its entire World Cup campaign aims to deliver more than 400 million impressions worldwide.


If the reception of the launch spot is anything to go by, then the early signs for the Emirates campaign are positive.


The launch spot passed the 1 million views mark in just a couple of days and has currently clocked up 4.8 millions views.


But there clearly is a way to go yet before it hits its target.


One of the world’s biggest sponsors, each year Emirates backs more than 200 sports events where fans and airline customers share exclusive experiences.


This reflects Emirates’ strategy of going beyond simply transporting people and connecting to them through sports and culture.


And football (along with horse racing, golf and cricket) is perhaps a key space,


The brand is a committed football sponsor and in addition to its FIFA top tier global partnership (a position it has held since 2006 and which see the airline involved in all major FIFA tournaments including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFA Youth World Cups and FIFA Club World Cup), it also backs some of the biggest football properties and European clubs.


These include AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Hamburger SV, real Madrid, Olympiacos FC, The Emirates Cup, the Zain Saudi Professional League and, and of course, Arsenal.


It was back in 2004 when Emirates and Arsenal Football Club signed what was then the biggest club sponsorship in English football which included nPerhaps the most interesting recent additional Arsenal activation is the aming rights to the club’s new stadium and an eight-year shirt sponsorship deal from season 2006/07.


Emirates Flight Simulator Challenge’ which saw two sets of Arsenal players (an English trio and a German trio) attempt to land an Emirates A380 at Dubai International.


First Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson tested their piloting skills,



and they then challenged German teammates Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil to take them on in the flight simulator challenge.



This was then followed in February 2014 by a similar Arsenal player ‘France v Spain’ challenge



Thus using its principle domestic club sponsorship to link to the World Cup international competition ahead.




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