BBC: The FA Cup #NoGutsNoGlory

The BBC consistently needs to demonstrate value for money to shareholders: the British public. Given the diverse make-up of the UK there is a real challenge to ensure that content is delivered to a broad and varied demographic via the most appropriate platforms.

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According to a variety of sport industry sources, the average age of the UK’s televised football audience is between 40 and 45. That audience annually enjoys the history and tradition of the FA Cup, regularly associating these attributes with the competition.

This year’s FA Cup campaign challenge was to reach a younger audience, as well as those from ethnic minority backgrounds.  For them, history and tradition is less relevant.

Our task was to deliver a campaign that spoke to a younger digitally savvy and culturally diverse football fan as opposed to the traditional Match Of The Day viewer. A campaign that would awaken young football fans to the FA Cup, whilst driving engagement and attribution of live FA Cup football coverage to BBC Sport.

Our hook came in spotting a tension. Our audience has grown up and subsequently loves watching football, fed by a diet of Premier and Champions League with its telephone directory salaries and Beats-headphone clad pretty boys. Yet, that same audience has a strong demand for unpolished, homemade peripheral content created by young football fans. Fans love the glamour, but also value authenticity. 

It’s the realness and the community of being a fan mixed with glamour of the ‘big boys’ that the FA Cup offers, and the BBC subsequently shows.

Our strategy was to get young people to re-assess what the Cup is to them and what the BBC has to offer. We sought to show them a unique, authoritative and real angle on football.

#NoGutsNoGlory hooked young football fans into the competition through the channels they consume their football, and invited them to be a part of the BBC’s FA Cup campaign.

A collaborative piece between Havas Media and the BBC, we created a mobile and social first campaign; delivering content by young people, for young people in the channels where they’re most active, with content formats they’re familiar with to drive engagement.

Using a network of football club influencers and YouTube fan channels, combined with the power of BBC programming, we told the story of the FA Cup from the perspective of young fans.

We set out to augment the match day experience by asking them to submit their #NoGutsNoGlory moments via social media, from wherever they were watching, giving them a chance to feature in BBC Sport’s cross platform campaign. Young people’s content travelled from their own channels and into BBC properties such as 1Xtra, CBBC, 5 Live, Football Focus and beyond.

For the first time, we featured club influencers, who have a huge appeal to the 16-24 year old demographic, such as Blue Moon Rising (45k YouTube subscribers) and Arsenal Fan TV (468k subscribers) on established BBC formats such as Lawro’s predictions, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Friday Night Football Social and the 606 FA Cup Final special to help spread our #NoGutsNoGlory messaging.

We used paid social to complement the shared and earned activity in the build up to and on the FA Cup weekends, which included:

  • A Bleacher Report partnership involving takeovers of their Snapchat Discover Edition, Snapchat ads, and a website takeover that maintained reach.

• Facebook and Twitter video adverts encouraged people to share their #NoGutsNoGlory moments, increasing influencer reach and placing BBC Sport at the centre of the conversation.

In the lead up to the Final, we showcased the story of this season’s FA Cup in a way that brought the #NoGutsNoGlory story together and appealed to 16-24s. The campaign culminated in an immersive virtual walk down Wembley Way, where fans were guided through the journey of the competition and saw round-by-round action in 360.

The 360 experience was distributed using two innovative media firsts; via Bleacher Report on Snapchat in their first ever 360 Snapchat story and on Twitter with their first 360 video advert in the UK. In addition, there were 360 video adverts on Facebook to drive scale as well as involvement from influencer channels who helped seed the content.


 BBC Relevance & Attribution Amongst Audience:

  • Net campaign recall across TV, radio and online for ‘No Guts, No Glory’ was 6% higher than the 2015/16 ‘Anything Can Happen’ approach
  • Of those surveyed, campaign recall was 16% higher among respondents who were from the 16-24 year old demographic
  • Campaign recall was also 22% higher among ethnic minority respondents compared to those from a white background   
  • In terms of attribution, awareness that the BBC was showing this year’s tournament grew by 5 percentage points among 16-24 year olds who took part in the marcomms survey compared to last season (This is in response to the question, ‘do you know which of the following channels are showing the FA Cup this season?’)   

Awareness & Engagement: 

Havas Media

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