Cannes Lions

The Neymarless Sponsorship

ALMAPBBDO, Sao Paulo / GOL AIRLINES / 2019

Case Film
Case Film

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

Brazilians love the World Cup. The whole country stops. All eyes turn to one of the few things that everyone in Brazil can be proud of: Football.

Historically, Brazilians have been extremely concerned about how their players are preparing for the competition and how they behave during training.

But since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Brazilian fans have been bitterly disappointed.

While the Brazilian players were preparing for the games, they held parties and went to a ton of events.

What followed was the defeat of the national team and the disappointment of a nation.

At the 2014 World Cup, irresponsible behavior reared its head again. While the German team trained hard, the Brazilians didn’t resist the temptation to party. And we saw our greatest sporting humiliation.

The result was that fans were concerned about what the team’s stars are doing when they should be practicing.

Idea

So we did the opposite of “Neymarketing”: we hired Neymar, but we didn’t use him.

Since GOL believes that time better spent can make a difference in people’s lives, we put ourselves in Neymar’s cleats. If we spent the Brazilian team’s biggest star’s time on ads instead of practice, it wouldn’t make a difference where it really mattered: on the field.

We decided to practice what we preached. We’d pay for Neymar, but we wouldn’t take any of his time.

The idea was to find stand-ins. We used a lookalike, a newborn named Neymar, one of his best buds, and even people wearing Neymar masks to present all of the features introduced by GOL to make sure that customers’ time on board is better spent.

That’s how we put our stance in practice, capitalized on our sponsorship and moved ahead of the pack of sponsors when it came to “Neymarketing.”

Strategy

Consumers today want brands to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

And they saw that GOL was following through on its stance: selfie check-in, more legroom, on-board live TV, in-flight internet, and a VIP lounge for domestic flights.

As a sponsor of the national team, it would be easy to show the stars enjoying all those benefits.

But that would blend in with the vast majority of campaigns, and was guaranteed to fall flat.

It was time for GOL’s messaging to take the company’s new stance to the next level.

When we analyzed our target’s mindset, we saw that all that any Brazilian wanted was to see the players focused on victory. And brands, instead of priding themselves on having their logos near the players, needed to invest in their performance.

But that’s not how things went. Neymar, for example, had been hired to do advertising for over 15 brands: batteries, cars, coffee, sports drinks, watches, restaurants, clothes, and retail.

This became a running joke: Neymarketing.

Then came the insight:

The more time Neymar spends on TV, the less time he’s practicing.

Since GOL was all about making the best use of people’s time, that couldn’t stand.

Outcome

Now, just remember that this campaign happened BEFORE the World Cup and Brazil’s defeat to Belgium.

Our results couldn’t have been better among the target:

BRAND OBJECTIVES*

TOP OF MIND: HIGHEST SINCE JANUARY 2017

BE THE MOST PREFERRED AIRLINE:

+8 points vs. previous quarter, took the pole position over #2

AGREE WITH POSITIONING:

Leads in “has intelligent solutions to optimize my time,” and lead grew 2 points over the period

COMMUNICATIONS OBJECTIVES*

CAMPAIGN RECALL: 84%

AWARENESS OF GOL’S SPONSORSHIP OF THE BRAZILIAN NATIONAL TEAM

From 75% to 95% post-campaign

BUSINESS OBJECTIVES**

Grow domestic demand for GOL in 2nd quarter/2018 vs. 2nd quarter/2017: +2.5%

This growth made GOL’s net operating revenues went up R$2.4 billion over the period of the campaign, 9% more than the same period in 2017.

*source: Brand Tracking, GFK, 06/ 2018

**sources: GOL/ABEAR Report

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