Qatar Airways Viral Flies Neymar To FC Barça Utopia

The latest collaboration between FC Barcelona and its new lead sponsor Qatar Airways is an online spot in which the airline flies to an imaginary utopian Barça-World.


The viral’s narrative sees the sponsor carry the team’s marquee summer signing Neymar to a fictional Barça island (finally turning the Catalan club into a country as many fans have long wanted).



This light hearted viral takes viewers on a whistle-stop tour of Barça-World and enables the team’s superstars show their silly side: when the star Brazilian attacker lands he is faced with immigration officer and central defender Gerard Pique, while Lionel Messi teaches a football-based dance class and captain Carlos Puyol secures the streets through his heading ability.


It even features some former Barça stars: for example former 1980s striker, England forward and Walkers Crisps front man Gary Lineker makes a brief appearance as a taxi driver.


The campaign, from agency 180 Amsterdam, certainly has a fun sense of humour as it aims to unite fans, players and legends of FC Barcelona (and simultaneously bring the club and the sponsor closer together as the conduit for this club paradise).


The viral forms part of the sponsors umbrella campaign for the new season running under the tagline: ‘Qatar Airways and FC Barcelona: A team that unites the world’.


This is the launch activation for the sponsor which signed a lucrative jersey-sponsorship deal with the Spanish football giant earlier this year. A deal that finally ended Barcelona’s 113-year policy of forgoing corporate jersey sponsorship.


The €96m (US$128.5m) three-year agreement, arguably the most expensive sports shirt sponsorship deal in history, sees the airline become the club’s main global sponsor.


Described officially as a ‘strategic partnership’, the deal means the airline’s brand name will appear on first team home and away shirts from the start of the 2013/14 season.


The sponsor will also work with FC Barcelona on creating joint initiatives centring on added value flight and holiday packages for fans globally, as well as a host of community programmes.


The new spot follows the airline’s activation around its role as sponsor of the team’s summer tour of Asia (which took them to Thailand and Malaysia in August).


Tour-related activation ranged from an online film



to a Facebook contest which saw the sponsor engage with the team’s 44 million Facebook fans (who make it the most followed football team on the social network) through a competition in which the winners were given a VIP trip on the team’s Asian Tour.


The airline is also activating across a Barça strand of marketing across its own online properties. The Qatar Airlines’ website and Facebook page both include the new viral (plus a ‘making of’ film), plus additional club-related content and the chance to win prizes ranging from signed shirts and VIP match tickets, to an invitation to meet two players at a private autograph session. 




With 3.3 million YouTube views (that’s 8 years worth of time spent watching the spot) and 15,000 shares since it’s end of August launch (coinciding with the start of the new Spanish season), the new ad is certainly gaining some traction.


Sport is a key pillar of the airline’s current growth strategy – which fits in line with the long-term vision of the Emir of Qatar’s aim to develop sport as fundamental element to the country’s development.


Qatar Airways, which has grown fast in its 16 years of operations, has been present in Spain for seven years and now operates 17 services each week to and from Spain.


It began flying to Barcelona in June 2010 and since then it has flown hundreds of thousands of tourists and business travellers to Barcelona, proving to be an active supporter of the local economy and local tourism industry, helping create jobs in the process.


Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker says the sponsorship will be a unique partnership between what he describes as the World’s Best Club and the Best Airline in the World. Describing the alignment with Barca as a ‘fitting match for both organisations, which will elevate the brands to a new platform on the global stage and sharing the same values – passionate about being the best at what we do in our respective fields’.


‘Both fans of Qatar Airways and Barça can expect to see pride, heritage, culture and passion in everything we strive to do as individual organisations and as partners,’ says Baker. ‘We are excited about forming part of the FC Barcelona family and welcoming the club into our own.’


‘Qatar Airways is entering a new chapter in our short history. We look forward to working with, and engaging with, the club, the fans and the people of Barcelona to help make a real difference through this exciting new partnership,’ he continues.


‘We know and understand the passion of the people of Catalonia, who live and breathe football. Football is a religion for tens of millions of fans globally. At Qatar Airways, we are able to bridge supporters and communities linking Barcelona with millions of loyal fans around the world.’


Barça president Sandro Rosell says the sponsorship deal will bring great advantages, not just for the club, but also for the city and country.


‘We will be working with global company Qatar Airways, with whom we share many things such as the search for excellence,’ says Rosell. ‘I’d also like to thank previous shirt sponsors Qatar Foundation: an organisation we have had a very productive relationship with during these last two years and which we will continue to be connected with.’’


The Qatar Foundation will continue its relationship with FC Barcelona as Human Development Partner.


Indeed, FC Barcelona continues to further strengthen its Gulf ties this month with a new three-year deal with UAE financial brand United Arab Bank (UAB). This partnership will give UAB customers access to a range of initiatives to join the club in Barcelona.




A Team That Unites The World YouTube



Qatar Airways Campaign Website



FC Barça Website



FC Barça Twitter



FC Barça Facebook



FC Barça Google+



FC Barça Fan Websites



Qatar Airways Website



United Arab Bank Website





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