Mars’ FA Euro 2012 Work Based On Penalty Miracle

Mars, official sponsor of the Football Association (FA), has launched its Euro 2012 campaign with a TV ad that leverages England’s ‘penalty-shootout’ history at major international tournaments.


The creative stars a Mars bar chomping steward who steps in for England’s injured keeper and reverses the historical norm by producing heroic saves to defy the Premier League’s top marksman and Netherland’s star Robin van Persie.


The spot, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, debuted during ITV’s coverage of the FA’s domestic cup competition semi-final  between Chelsea and Tottenham.


Other endorser England players (including Theo Walcott, Glen Johnson and Scott Parker) stand by watching as the steward takes a bite of his Mars bar, strips off his high-visibility jacket and plucks Van Persie’s penalty out of the top-right corner.


He saves the next penalty too before being mobbed by the other celebrating England players.


The TV ad will air in two bursts; the first runs between April and 12 May, and the second between 27 May and 23 June.  This year’s European Championship themselves take place in Poland and Ukraine between 8 June and 1 July.


The TV work is supported by executions running across press and outdoor platforms and also include PR and digital elements.


Online work includes a bespoke campaign website and Facebook work.


The wider campaign uses a tweaked version of the famous tagline Work Rest Play, re-launched and extended to Work Rest Play Your Part For England, to encourage fans to get behind the national team.


Another part of the campaign sees Mars give away 100,000 “official special-edition” England shirts through an on-pack promotion also kicks off in April. Competition codes are carried on Mars bars and these codes can be checked via the brand’s UK website to claim prizes.


All UK Home Nations consumers will also be offered the opportunity to win sports kits through ‘Play the Game’, a text based competition. Fans can win one of thousands of £25 vouchers, redeemable in Sports Direct.


The promotion, available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be promoted in-store with a range of POS materials to drive awareness.


In England, the Mars Bar features The FA crest with the three lions displayed on-pack, with ‘Made in Slough’, and a Union Jack proudly displayed on the back of pack.


Brand ambassador, Theo Walcott, will feature in all of the current campaign’s consumer communications. The work will also feature other players including Ashley Young, Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshire.


The aim of the campaign is to drive awareness and appeal to a wide range of people and particularly to excite a younger audience.


The campaign is also expected to deliver greater sales building on previous Mars success, including The FA flashed Mars Bars enjoying a 5.4% increase on sales compared to standard Bars.




Mars has been an official sponsor of the FA since signing a five-year deal in 2009 (and an official supplier to the national team since 2006). Interestingly, the brand is also an official sponsor of their great rival too – the Scottish FA.


The brand is reported to be spending £4.3m on this campaign – which represents a 70% increase on spend compared to the Mars 2010 World Cup campaign.


The brand has chosen something of a tried and tested creative route for England football sponsorship.


The team’s history of major tournament elimination in penalty shootouts has become something of a national institution. Fans almost expect such an outcome.


Other advertisers have exploited the theme in the past. For instance Pizza Hut famously ran a campaign starring former England player and penalty shootout failure Gareth Southgate back in 1996 when England lost in a penalty shootout to Germany in the semi finals of Euro 96.


Is the confectioner the only believer that England can actually win a penalty shootout?


Is Mars’ approach ‘tried and trusted’ or ‘tired and clichéd’?


You decide!









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