Manchester City Christmas 2016

Manchester City Christmas 2016

As one of the top Premier League football clubs, Manchester City wanted to lead the way with the promotion of their latest Christmas merchandise. Building on the success of last year's campaign the club knew it would take a great idea to achieve maximum impact and to engage with the fans more to build campaign traction leading up to Christmas Eve.

With the influence of recent superhero blockbuster movies like Batman vs Superman from DC and Captain America Civil War from Marvel, this years concept challenges the Manchester City players, both current and legends, to a ‘Festive Face Off’ snowball fight at the Etihad Stadium. Two different Christmas jumpers were produced, one for Team Santa led by Kevin De Bruyne and one for Team Elf led by Vincent Kompany, with the question to the City Fans ‘Whose side will you choose?’. The bonus for this campaign was having City’s highly rated manager Pep Guardiola refereeing the 2 teams to make sure it all ran smoothly. With every jumper sold, the club would donate £5 to the City in the Community / Cityzens Giving campaign.

An initial sketch of the concept for Manchester City. Three players are stood in Team Santa jumpers, opposite three players stood in Team Elf jumpers in front of a snowy Manchester City Stadium

Art Direction

The process started by creating the vision for the main campaign poster based on the marketing strategy. Absolute visualised the players wearing the Team Santa and Team Elf kits preparing to do battle outside the stadium. These visuals were then applied across a range of communication channels, from outdoor media to online and instore. Alongside the main hero image, storyboards were also created to bring to life the concept of the snowball fight through a ‘Festive Face Off’ video with the players. Badges were then created to identify each team using the shield from the new City crest and bespoke frosted typography for impact.

A light blue background in front a shield with the words Team Santa written in a frosted chunky typeface

On Location

A lot of planning went into the main shoot day involving most of the Absolute team working with the marketing teams from both Manchester City and Kitbag. The logistical challenge was to find a venue that everyone, especially the players, could be at on the chosen day and the best place for this to happen was at City’s fantastic training facilities. Absolute set about creating a snow scene at the academy stadium along with a second set up for the video shoot. Armed with a snow machine, a great timing and co-ordination plan, and over 40 people to make sure it all ran smoothly, we set about capturing all the photography and video needed to put this great campaign together.

A member of the video team stood back from his camera to watch a clip he has just recorded of Willy Caballero from the Manchester City team in his Santa jumper
A behind the scenes photograph from the Manchester City Christmas photoshoot, Vincent Kompany stood holding a snowball in front of a snowman
A behind the scenes photograph from the Manchester City Christmas photoshoot, Toni Duggan stood side on holding a snowball while our photographer is taking the picture
Inside the Manchester City store on Market Street Manchester. A glass cabinet has a Team Santa jumper on display, above a photograph of Pep Guardiola stood with his hands out to the side looking like he is shouting stop
Manchester City player Angelino stood proudly pointing at the City badge on his Elf jumper in a snowy scene
Will Caballero stood close to camera, holding a giant snowball shouting towards camera. Snow is falling over a black background behind him

Photography

All the final finished artwork and video editing was produced at Absolute. In terms of the photography, the final output consisted mainly of the ‘Festive Face Off’ hero image which was to be used to tie together the integrated campaign and the 2 teams photographed separately in various group poses. These were then applied to the City Stores, both inside and out, on the the side of the stadium, lamp post banners and various posters sites around Manchester. The campaign also went online through the main website, and was shared on social media were the fans could vote for their favourite team. It also gained national press coverage with the major newspapers.

A photograph of Team Santa, Kevin De Bruyne stood at the front with his arms folded across his body. Behind him Steph Houghton, Willy Caballero and Mike Summerbee. Snow is falling over a black background behind them
A photograph of Team Elf, Vincent Kompany stood at the front pointing at the Manchester City badge on his jumper. Behind him Toni Duggan, Angelino and Paul Dickov. Snow is falling over a black background behind them
The lead image of the advertising campaign on a 32 metre billboard on the outside of the club’s Etihad Stadium
Inside the Manchester City store on Market Street Manchester
Inside the Manchester City store on Market Street Manchester
Inside the Manchester City store on Market Street Manchester
Inside the Manchester City store on Market Street Manchester
Inside the Manchester City store on Market Street Manchester. A glass cabinet has a Team Santa jumper on display, above a photograph of Pep Guardiola stood with his hands out to the side looking like he is shouting stop
A photograph of the front of the Manchester City Stadium shop. On the front window a version of the main campaign image showing, Team Santa stood opposite Team Elf, in the middle the doorway to the shop

Video

The main video we produced brought all the players together to face off, goading each other before they started launching their snowballs. In the first week of launch, there were over 1.6 million views of the video on Facebook alone. During the festive period each player also had their own individual video stings that ran online encouraging the fans to join their team campaign, with voting taking place on City’s website. One lucky fan getting the chance to meet the hero of their winning team to present the ‘Festive Face Off’ trophy.