Entertainment Lions For Sport > Branded Content for Sport


adam&eveDDB, London / EA GAMES / 2022


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Why is this work relevant for Sport Entertainment?

The EA SPORTS FIFA21 x Midnight Ramadan League campaign showcased the authentic stories of a real football league based in the UK, through partnership and sponsorship of the ‘Midnight Ramadan League’.

To ensure role models for the British South Asian community to look up to, EA SPORTS FIFA partnered with pro Leicester footballer Hamza Choudhury (Pro Leicester City footballer), signing him as their first ever British South Asian ambassador.

The campaign ran everywhere from TV to OOH, live events, social channels, comic books and crucially in the game itself across the period of Ramadan in the UK in 2021.


The campaign was borne out of Channel 4's Brief for the 2020 'Diversity In Advertising Award' - challenging brands to show how there can be a focus on the authentic portrayal of UK BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) cultures to effect change in UK advertising.

We identified a clear problem to solve - that British South Asians are grossly underrepresented at the top tiers of English football (making up just 0.25% of the UK’s 4000 pro’s), despite over indexing at casual participation level and within football based gaming. This led us to a hypothesis that there must be a barrier to entry at the top level that was preventing them from breaking through.

We conducted thorough research which informed our conclusion; this barrier was primarily rooted in a lack of viable role models within the community, who were therefore unable to validate going pro as a legitimate career path.

Describe the creative idea

The primary campaign objective became the campaign idea: To ‘Inspire the next generation’ by championing British South Asian role models in football, challenging the stigma’s that have prevented them reaching the higher levels of the professional game and stopping the vicious cycle of under-representation.

By showcasing the authentic stories of the Midnight Ramadan League and Hamza Choudhury (Pro Leicester footballer) everywhere from TV to OOH and with updates in the game itself, the aim was to raise awareness and create longer lasting change that could inspire the British South Asian community.

Describe the strategy

Having identified the gross under-representation of British Asians at the top tiers of English football, we understood that we needed to raise awareness of the issue, however we were acutely conscious that we needed to create longer lasting change to inspire the British South Asian community.

To do that, we wanted to create a cycle of influence by shining a light on British South Asian role models for younger players to look up to.

This meant our solution needed two key components. Placing a real team, 'The Midnight Ramadan League' , at the heart of an integrated campaign, whilst at the same time leveraging the fame and talkability that a real life top flight British South Asian could bring to the community, and beyond.

Describe the execution

The campaign kicked off with a 60s TVC & national OOH, focussed on The Midnight Ramadan League (MRL). To ensure the story was truly relatable, it was critical that we ensured a strong representation from under-represented groups, with 100% of the cast featured within the TVC coming from the community.

Featuring prominently within this was pro footballer Hamza Choudhury, who EA Sports FIFA signed specifically as their first British South Asian Ambassador, to act as a role model and kickstart the cycle of influence.

To extend Hamza’s influence, a comic book based on his life was rolled out in schools through anti-racism educational charity ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ and The Premier League’s Primary Stars initiative.

To ensure the message was seen by the masses EA SPORTS FIFA changed the game itself, commissioning South Asian artist Kiayes Uddin to produce the MRL Kit and Stadium Vanity exclusively.

Describe the outcome

The campaign transformed perceptions of FIFA for our target audience:

? 82% of our British Asian / Muslim target audience now feel that FIFA games contain authentic representation – which is higher than the UK average.*

? The positive brand impact went well beyond the audience we represented in the campaign. 72% of all gamers who saw the campaign were more excited to play FIFA 21 than before - despite the campaign launching towards the end of the product life cycle.**

? Players wore the Midnight Ramadan League kit in over 11.6m matches, boosting the visibility of British Asians and Muslims within the game.

? Beyond the game, we began to see the influence of our role models on wider society, with a 4% increase in British South Asians feeling welcome in football and a 5.6% increase in British South Asian families supporting young members to play professionally.

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