Thanks to a genius marketing campaign from Burger King, Stevenage FC have become the most used club in FIFA 20’s Career Mode.
Over the 12 months, gamers around the world have flocked to play with League Two side Stevenage on FIFA 20 – all because of the club’s sponsorship deal with Burger King.
The fast-food outlet started sponsoring Stevenage at the beginning of the 2019/20 season and having done so then challenged FIFA players around the world to select them when playing online or in Career Mode.
Once they had done this, they were encouraged to share video clips of their goals online and in return, receive rewards from Burger King.
Score Sensationally With Stevenage
They launched the campaign with this video. They urged gamers to “fuel your competitive flame by scoring sensationally with Stevenage FC. bust out the benders, headers, and bicycle kicks, then share your goal-scoring savagery using a Stevenage FC jersey.”
Stevenage have an average attendance around 3,000 and find attracting new fans is difficult as Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham are located nearby. So, they need creative ways to get more attention online and offline.
Alex Turnbridge, Stevenage chief executive, told BBC Sport: “This gave us the chance to have a global platform.
“They are an edgy brand in terms of marketing, which is why we thought it’d work quite well.”
Turnbridge admitted that despite all the praise, they receive quite a lot of backlash. He did feel there was a balance to the partnership as the club also promote being fit and active.
Many marketing and PR experts have since gone onto praise the campaign.
Turnbridge added: “It’s PR that you couldn’t buy as a League Two club unless you reach the third or fourth round of the FA Cup.
“But even then I don’t even think a fourth-round tie at Manchester United would’ve got the engagement we’ve received.
“The value of being in that game is phenomenal – it’s probably a value that a lot of clubs and brands haven’t realised.”
As everyone is talking about Stevenage and Whoppers – let’s reopen the competition! We’re back with an extra #StevenageChallenge 🔥 For all you football gamers, send us of your best in-game signing wearing the @StevenageFC kit and you could win a month’s free Whoppers. T&Cs apply pic.twitter.com/GweGIpRatK
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) September 24, 2020
This tweet and accompanying video do explain how successful the campaign was. Over 25,000 goals were shared online, and the Stevenage shirt sold out online.
Back in October 2019, Stevenage told the world: “Thanks to the #StevenageChallenge, we have shipped out shirts to Mexico, France, USA, Japan, Spain & Denmark over the weekend…
In September 2020, Burger King briefly re-launched the campaign offering gamers the chance to win a month’s free Whoppers.
The Best Goals
This goal showcases a great bit of skill from the virtual Leroy Sane.
— CJ (@SJ01047412) October 22, 2019
Or how about this fantastic counter-attacking goal from Lautaro Martínez.
— Dadbod 🇾🇪 (@DadBodGG) October 21, 2019
Who Are Stevenage FC?
Stevenage FC was founded in 1976 following the demise of the town’s former club. The club started life in the United Counties League and now play in League Two, the fourth tier of English football. Once they reached the dizzy heights League One in 2011 but were relegated back down in 2014. They finished the 2019/2020 season in 23rd place and were perhaps lucky not to be relegated to the National League.
Back in 2008, MLS side Seattle Sounders announced a sponsorship deal with Microsoft. As part of the agreement, Xbox branding appeared on the front of the Sounders kit. Elements of the Xbox branding were modified during their relationship to promote Xbox games such as GoW and Halo.
— Andreas Ivanschitz (@andivan) October 17, 2019
During the Gears of War promotion, the Sounders owner said: “We always enjoy collaborating with Xbox to find the best ways to integrate our brands together, and we’re excited to have another limited edition jersey to commemorate this campaign for fans of Sounders FC and Gears of War.”
While it seems that this type of marketing campaign has been used before. It’s never been done to the level achieved by Burger King and Stevenage FC. They’ve only gone and won the marketing equivalent of the World Cup!