Cannes Lions

The Dirtiest Cup

PS21, Madrid / LIBERO / 2023


3 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Libero is an independent magazine that uses football as a vehicle to tell stories about life, culture, politics, lifestyle, nostalgia and many other themes. Because when we explain things through football, you get them.

Mainstream sports media belongs to big corporations that try to avoid telling the dark stories of associations like FIFA so that they don't lose access to their information or their advertising dollars.

Being an independent magazine, we couldn't turn our back to what was happening around the 2022 Qatar World Cup, a competition surrounded with controversy and corruption stories since the designation of the host country.

So Libero decided to launch a special issue of the magazine covering the stories behind the darkest World Cups in history, including Qatar. The main challenge was to cut through the noise of the World Cup so that the magazine got noticed and our story heard.


We collaborated with artist and activist Andrei Molodkin to create "The Dirtiest Cup", a trophy made with petrol from Qatar. A replica of the iconic World Cup Trophy made from a hollow block of plexiglass, that got petrol pumped inside the negative mold of the cup with a compressor and a series of pipes, tainting its interior.

A metaphor of a dirty, empty competition that was auctioned for $150MM, the same amount paid in bribes according to the FBI investigation.

This symbol of a dirty World Cup became the image of the front cover and back of the magazine, as well as a news piece inside the publication.


The World Cup is the world's most treasured trophy in the world of football, beloved by fans and players alike. To raise awareness of the darkest side of 2022 World Cup, we created a replica of its most famous icon, filling it with petrol from Qatar.

We named the new trophy so that the message came across clear and direct: "The Dirtiest Cup", a trophy to remind us who the real winners of this World Cup were.

The Dirtiest Cup soon trascended the paper of the magazine, even the sports universe and broke it's way to mainstream media outlets, both local and international, grabbing attention, and informing about what was happening in Qatar.

A great way to connect with an audience that's not only interested in football, but in the social and ethical questions involving the 2022 competition and its context.


The dirtiest cup is an exact reproduction of the trophy designed by Silvio Gazzinaga in 1971.

Artist and activist Andrei Molodkin sculpted it in wax to later obtain a hollow mold. With this technique he developed he was able to create a liquid sculpture inside a 25x25x60cm plexiglass block.

The vacuum in the transparent block with the shape of the trophy, is then filled with petrol from Qatar (certified by Institut Française du Pètrole) thanks to compressor system, completing the work of art.

As the black gold comes up filling the interior of the negative trophy, taints the acrylic mold walls making them look golden. A perfect metaphor of an empty trophy with a dark back story.

The iconic image of the cup filled with petrol did not only become the front and back of the special issue, but also was showcased in art galleries in London and Madrid.


The Dirtiest Cup trascended the audience of Libero Magazine and sport fans, and the story got covered by some of the biggest media across the whole world, including The Guardian, The Financial Times, Forbes, or Deutsche Welle, as well as the main Spanish newspapers such as El País, and even national TV and radio stations like RTVE or La Sexta, among many others.

In total, we got more than 325 million impressions, reaching a PR value over 2,7 million euros. All without a single euro spent in media.

This was a huge boost not only to the special issue magazine, but for the whole Libero Magazine sales, that went up by +17% during the time of the campaign.

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