How Burger King Is Using FIFA 20 to Make a Tiny English Team a Big Deal

A reason to play League Two's Stevenage F.C.

In June, Burger King announced it was sponsoring Stevenage Football Club, a soccer team in England's League Two—which is the fourth division of English footall (after the Premier League, the Championship and League One). 

It may have seemed odd at the time for a multinational marketer to be interested in such a small club. But BK's global head of brand marketing, Marcelo Pascoa, assured supporters that the company was passionate "not only for the big teams, but also for the smaller ones that are poised for something big."

Now, it seems that something big may have arrived—in the form of a BK marketing campaign, tied to EA's recently released FIFA 20 video game, that aims to make this tiny football club a big deal in the gaming world. 

Starting today, BK is encouraging FIFA 20 gamers to play the Stevenage team within the game—by posting an online list of in-game challenges for virtual Stevenage players to try. (They have names like "A Nutmeg for Nuggets" and "Impossible for Impossible Whopper.") Gamers who complete the challenges, and upload the footage to Twitter, will be eligible for free BK food. 

Since the virtual Stevenage players wear the same BK-branded uniforms as the real-world players, the stunt is really just a way of getting a lot of BK-themed sports footage circulating in social—a clever escalation of the typical shirt-sponsorship equity within the world of gaming. 

Agencies David and LOLA MullenLowe devised the stunt. The spot below supports it. 

The idea is fun on a number of levels. First of all, it blurs the line so convincingly between online and offline. It's conceivable BK even initiated the offline sponsorship with Stevenage just to activate the online idea. Also, it taps into an existing user behavior—lots of gamers enjoy playing the smaller clubs in FIFA. (My kids and I are fond of the Scottish clubs and their adorable tiny stadiums.) 

Finally, as with many BK stunts lately, this one is designed to spur a specific consumer action—in this case, getting people to try BK delivery through Uber Eats (a new partnership). The free food comes in the form of delivery codes through that service. 

"It's almost 2020 and the internet community is still surprising me," Fernando Machado, global CMO of Burger King, said in a statement—referring to fans already sharing the new Stevenage uniforms online. "The 'Stevenage Challenge' is here to welcome everyone, because thanks to technology, this could be everyone's team too." 

Hopefully the virtual Stevenage team will have better luck than the actual Stevenage team, which has had a rough start to the 2019-20 season—having won just one of its first 13 games, it's sitting in 23rd place among the 24 League Two teams. 

The Stevenage Challenge runs until Oct. 23. 


Agency: David Miami & Madrid
Global CCO & Partner: Pancho Cassis
Global COO: Sylvia Panico
ECD: Saulo Rocha, André Toledo
GCD: Fernando Pellizzaro, Jean Zamprogno
CD: Fred Bosch
Copywriter: Luis Giraldo, Alexander Allen
Art Director: Pedro Sattin, Andres Tamayo
Head of Social: Alex Sanchez
Strategy Director: Jon Carlaw
Planner: Stephanie Salvador
Jr. Planner: Vanessa Amaral
Group Account Director: Stefane Rosa
Management Supervisor: Jenny Gobel
Head of Global Production: Veronica Beach
Producer: Marina Rodrigues
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Barbara Karalis

Agency: LOLA MullenLowe
ECD: Pancho Cassis, Tomás Ostiglia
Creative Director: Fred Bosch, Saulo Rocha, Andre Toledo
Copywriter: Luis Giraldo, José Sancho
Art Director: Felipe Antonioli, Pedro Sattin
Planner: Marcelle Santos
Client Services Director: Tom Elliston, Carlos Solchaga
Account Supervisor: Adriana González Cid
Head of Production: Felipe Calviño
Producer: Diego "El Wey" Baltazar

Client: Burger King
Global CMO: Fernando Machado
Head of Global Brand Marketing: Marcelo Pascoa
Sr. Brand Manager of Global Marketing: Rogelio Magaña
Sr. Brand Manager of Global Marketing: Mary Toups
President, Burger King North America: Chris Finazzo
Head of Marketing, North America: Renato Rossi
Lead Marketing Communications: Diego Suarez
Director, Media & Social Channels: Jorge R. Oliveira
Social Media Digital Marketing: Flavia Guetter
Media Marketing: Madeline McDermott

Production Company: Landia
Director: Render Panic by The Movement
Executive Producer: Nico Cabuche
Producer: Alberto Lopez Garrido
DOP: Oriol Barcelona

Post-Production Company: Metropolitana
Editor: Pablo Marchetto
Post Producer: Alvaro Monzon

CGI: The Cathedral

Animation Studio: Mr. Klauss

Music: Twenty Below Music
Composers: R Gigante, R Irving, A Gigante

Audio Mix: Heard City
Mixer: Evan Mangiamele, Eric Warzecha
Producer: Andi Lewis
Executive Producer: Sasha Awn

Digital Production Studio: Unicorns & Unicorns
Technical Director: Sun Komen
Head of Development: Ralph Kuijpers
Art Director: Ceara Adamson

PR: Alison Brod Marketing and Communications (ABMC)

Media: Horizon Media & Scout
Director, Digital, Horizon Media: Brian Zai
Account Executive, Scout: Nico Amantia

Social Media Agency: MullenLowe U.S.
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
Executive Creative Director: Tim Vaccarino
Executive Creative Director: Dave Weist
SVP, Creative Director: Enrique Camacho
Associate Creative Director: Cody Dummer
Copywriter: Vanessa de Beaumont
Senior Social Strategist: Jimmy George
Community Manager: Katie Nisbett
Social Content Writer: Arielle Mulgrew
Director of Print Production: Aidan Finnan
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Amy Keddy
Assistant Project Manager: Morgan Playle
VP, Account Director: Kerry McKibbin
Account Director: Alison Whisenant
Account Executive: Leila Chee

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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