By Barry Janoff
April 16, 2014: Emirates Airline, which has been an official global partner of FIFA and the World Cup since 2006, has launched an interactive marketing platform with Microsoft to support and deepen its worldwide campaign, "Hero: All-Time Greats," which is anchored by a spot featuring soccer greats Pelé and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Emirates effort is running in 25 markets, including the U.S. and World Cup host nation Brazil, and has been translated into 12 languages. The campaign encompasses TV, print, Internet and such social media destinations as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The Microsoft platform, under the auspices of its Microsoft Advertising division, will include MSN, Xbox, Windows 8 and Skype on four different screens: PC, TV, tablet and mobile. The push "aims to raise brand awareness among a target audience of football fans by driving views of the 'Hero' video — created by BBDO — featuring football legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé aboard Emirates' flagship aircraft, the Airbus A380," according to Emirates.
The airline said the entire campaign is aiming to deliver more than 400 million impressions worldwide.
Pele had been aligned with Emirates since 2013, when the carrier became the official airline and jersey-front sponsor of the NASL's New York Cosmos, where Pelé is the club's honorary president. He signed as Emirate's global spokesman in January, Ronaldo in early April, both targeting the World Cup in June-July.
“Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé are well-known around the world," Boutros Boutros, Emirates divisional svp-corporate communications and brand, said in a statement. “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."
According to Frank Holland, cvp-Microsoft Advertising & Online, "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 traveling: the business travelers of tomorrow."
Holland said that 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."
Among the activations being utilized across the Microsoft network are a MSN homepage takeover in 24 of Emiriate's 25 campaign markets (excluding Japan); a masthead-format homepage takeover on Skype featuring a ten-second sneak peek of the "Hero" video, where visitors can then click through to view the full film; and an in-banner video on Xbox that is "activated by a user-initiated action" and can be expanded to full video when selected.
On Windows 8, the campaign will be featured via apps such as Skype, Xbox, Bing News, Bing Sports, Bing Weather, Bing Food & Drink, Bing Travel, Bing Finance and Bing Health & Fitness.
"Emirates wants to raise brand awareness among a younger, tech-savvy demographic increasingly accustomed to frequent traveling: the business travelers of tomorrow."
According to Boutros, “Each year Emirates is involved in more than 200 sports events, where fans and customers share exclusive experiences. This campaign reflects the Emirates philosophy to go beyond transporting people and to connect them through sports and culture.”
The Pelé-Ronaldo spot shows the elder soccer statesman as the center of attention of other passengers. It ultimately puts Ronaldo at center stage when a young fan asks Pelé if could take a photo. Seemingly unaware of who Pelé is, he hands the camera to the soccer icon and stands next to Ronaldo. Both soccer legends then give each other a wink of approval. A voiceover offers, "Connecting every fan of the game." (See the full spot here.)
In addition to Emirates, FIFA global partners include adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia Motors, Sony and Visa. World Cip sponsors include Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Castrol, Continental, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Moy Park, OI and Yingli.
Cosmos, Pelé Fly With Emirates
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