Starcom MediaVest, Netherlands

Football fans have an unsurpassed passion for the game – a passion that is inherently social as they chat, argue, yell or show-off their knowledge to friends at match time. However brands all too often just plaster logos and messages on anything football related, essentially becoming a barrier between fans and the game they love. Heineken, as a main sponsor of the UEFA Champions League (UCL), wanted to do things differently. They wanted to bring true value to fans and enrich the viewing experience, without getting in the way of the game.

Heineken discovered that more than 75% of people watched the League at home, predominantly alone. They also found that instead of chatting in bars, they used their mobiles and tablets to stay connected with other fans and share insights on the match. Leveraging these second screens, Heineken could enhance moments when the game is at its best by providing fans with interesting content and banter that they couldn’t get anywhere else. Content they would talk about and share. They invited football fans across the world into #ShareTheSofa.

#ShareTheSofa turned fans’ second screen into an ability to chat live with some of the world’s most famous footballers. Heineken’s physical red sofa hosted a different footballing legend each match week. The footballers gave insights and commentary on the match and responded directly to fan questions. No question was off limits- from game predictions, favorite players, city with the craziest fans or their favorite sandwich!

The best responses, match reactions and insights were brought to life in real-time by a unique cast of dancers, singers and wacky bartenders who were all live with the footballer. The Heineken red sofa also traveled the world. Heineken made watching the UCL even better, redefining how a sporting event sponsorship can be activated. #ShareTheSofa was picked up by media in 94 countries, proving to fans there’s only one beer worth watching the Champions League with.

In the end #ShareTheSofa earned over 1.2 billion social impressions over the course of the season. Each match received between 4,000 – 10,000 direct fan responses via #ShareTheSofa. Heineken’s online ad awareness grew by an impressive 11%, and most importantly, #ShareTheSofa sold beer - raising purchase intent by over 7% (source: Dynamic Logic control vs exposed study).