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Behind the Work

THRILLING A NEW GENERATION

THRILLING A NEW GENERATION

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

January 13, 2020

BETC/Havas and PUMA celebrate the anniversary of Pelé’s thousandth goal by exciting a new audience with his magic.

"The anniversary was a huge moment for the greatest football player in history and also a big moment for our client PUMA—after all, he scored the goal while wearing a PUMA soccer boot"

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, is widely considered to be the greatest soccer player of all time. Iconic, too, was the Brazilian superstar’s long-term partnership with PUMA, first debuted at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

For fans around the world, Pelé is a football god, but younger generations have never witnessed his brilliance on the pitch, instead exploring his astonishing talents through e-gaming platforms. As the 50th anniversary of Pelé’s thousandth goal approached in November 2019, BETC/Havas recognized an opportunity; to connect PUMA with e-gamers, and to relight a flame between the brand and one of its most worshiped collaborations with #eKingPelé.

Roping in Pelé himself, now 79, the campaign challenged e-gamers to film and share 1,000 goals scored using Pelé avatars, and share them on social media using the hashtag #eKingPelé. Creative Director Gabriel Sotero talks about the work that made nostalgia relevant again.

 

What was the brief from the client, and what was the insight that led to the creative campaign?

When we realized that Pelé would celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his thousandth goal in November 2019, we knew we had to mark this superhuman feat. It was a huge moment for the greatest football player in history and also a big moment for our client PUMA—after all, he scored the goal while wearing a PUMA soccer boot! PUMA wanted to connect with the e-games audience, and this, paired with the occasion, inspired us to create a campaign to bring King Pelé closer to people that didn’t see him play and who don’t have the real dimension of what Pelé represents for the soccer world, but who love to play soccer video games.

What is it about Pelé that’s so aspirational to soccer fans and that has not been overshadowed by modern soccer stars?

Pelé is so important and relevant in soccer history that he is the most expensive avatar on the main e-games. But younger players aren’t aware of all his achievements as they’ve grown up watching players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar. We wanted to bring Pelé to into the news again, and capture the attention of new generations. So, we invited everyone to help Pelé to score a thousand goals again, this time on e-games. Gamers could contribute to the count in any soccer e-game, like FIFA or PES, and then share it on social networks using the hashtag #eKingPelé.

"It was an amazing opportunity for the King to connect with a new generation and now become eKing, too"

Anyone who is under 40 has never seen Pelé score a goal in real time. How did you capture this new audience?

Instead of asking people to visit Pelé’s main moments in the past, we brought him to a very contemporary environment where the young soccer fans already are—e-game platforms. Then, we invited people to be part of the celebration, scoring a goal with Pelé on e-games and sharing it using the hashtag #eKingPelé.

Participants are encouraged to share videos of their Pelé avatars scoring goals as they play e-sports. What are the most popular games being shared?

We saw a wide range of games being shared, even Atari and arcade games, but the most popular game was definitely FIFA, and in second place Pro Evolution Soccer.

PUMA and Pelé’s partnership goes way back. What is the history there?

PUMA was the main sport gear partner of Pelé and he was wearing a PUMA boot for some of the most important goals he scored.

The #eKingPelé campaign will fuel the relaunch of PUMA King, the iconic model worn by Pelé at the height of his career. How will the brand modernize the line and make it relevant?

Consumers are always looking for new trends, but the real classics never get old. PUMA King is one of the most iconic soccer boot models; we just need to modernize its relationship with the public, which we think we achieved with the #eKingPelé campaign.

Pele is 79 now. Was he excited to reach a new generation in this way, through online gaming?

Definitely. It was an amazing opportunity for the King to connect with a new generation and now become eKing, too.

Soccer stars like Edu Dracena and Igor Rabello have shared videos as part of the campaign. How did these sports personalities impact the campaign?

Having soccer stars’ engagement made the campaign grow beyond e-games’ boundaries, reaching people that don’t play e-games. Their participation helped keep the ball rolling and helped attract attention from important media outlets.

"The anniversary was a huge moment for the greatest football player in history and also a big moment for our client PUMA—after all, he scored the goal while wearing a PUMA soccer boot"

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, is widely considered to be the greatest soccer player of all time. Iconic, too, was the Brazilian superstar’s long-term partnership with PUMA, first debuted at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

For fans around the world, Pelé is a football god, but younger generations have never witnessed his brilliance on the pitch, instead exploring his astonishing talents through e-gaming platforms. As the 50th anniversary of Pelé’s thousandth goal approached in November 2019, BETC/Havas recognized an opportunity; to connect PUMA with e-gamers, and to relight a flame between the brand and one of its most worshiped collaborations with #eKingPelé.

Roping in Pelé himself, now 79, the campaign challenged e-gamers to film and share 1,000 goals scored using Pelé avatars, and share them on social media using the hashtag #eKingPelé. Creative Director Gabriel Sotero talks about the work that made nostalgia relevant again.

 

What was the brief from the client, and what was the insight that led to the creative campaign?

When we realized that Pelé would celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his thousandth goal in November 2019, we knew we had to mark this superhuman feat. It was a huge moment for the greatest football player in history and also a big moment for our client PUMA—after all, he scored the goal while wearing a PUMA soccer boot! PUMA wanted to connect with the e-games audience, and this, paired with the occasion, inspired us to create a campaign to bring King Pelé closer to people that didn’t see him play and who don’t have the real dimension of what Pelé represents for the soccer world, but who love to play soccer video games.

What is it about Pelé that’s so aspirational to soccer fans and that has not been overshadowed by modern soccer stars?

Pelé is so important and relevant in soccer history that he is the most expensive avatar on the main e-games. But younger players aren’t aware of all his achievements as they’ve grown up watching players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar. We wanted to bring Pelé to into the news again, and capture the attention of new generations. So, we invited everyone to help Pelé to score a thousand goals again, this time on e-games. Gamers could contribute to the count in any soccer e-game, like FIFA or PES, and then share it on social networks using the hashtag #eKingPelé.

"It was an amazing opportunity for the King to connect with a new generation and now become eKing, too"

Anyone who is under 40 has never seen Pelé score a goal in real time. How did you capture this new audience?

Instead of asking people to visit Pelé’s main moments in the past, we brought him to a very contemporary environment where the young soccer fans already are—e-game platforms. Then, we invited people to be part of the celebration, scoring a goal with Pelé on e-games and sharing it using the hashtag #eKingPelé.

Participants are encouraged to share videos of their Pelé avatars scoring goals as they play e-sports. What are the most popular games being shared?

We saw a wide range of games being shared, even Atari and arcade games, but the most popular game was definitely FIFA, and in second place Pro Evolution Soccer.

PUMA and Pelé’s partnership goes way back. What is the history there?

PUMA was the main sport gear partner of Pelé and he was wearing a PUMA boot for some of the most important goals he scored.

The #eKingPelé campaign will fuel the relaunch of PUMA King, the iconic model worn by Pelé at the height of his career. How will the brand modernize the line and make it relevant?

Consumers are always looking for new trends, but the real classics never get old. PUMA King is one of the most iconic soccer boot models; we just need to modernize its relationship with the public, which we think we achieved with the #eKingPelé campaign.

Pele is 79 now. Was he excited to reach a new generation in this way, through online gaming?

Definitely. It was an amazing opportunity for the King to connect with a new generation and now become eKing, too.

Soccer stars like Edu Dracena and Igor Rabello have shared videos as part of the campaign. How did these sports personalities impact the campaign?

Having soccer stars’ engagement made the campaign grow beyond e-games’ boundaries, reaching people that don’t play e-games. Their participation helped keep the ball rolling and helped attract attention from important media outlets.

Patricia Murphy joined Havas Group in October 2019 as a Senior Editor and Writer. She has a background in digital journalism and content creation.

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