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Why is this work relevant for Sport Entertainment?

In order to impact sports consumers when they're having fun, entertainment is a must.

The Pirate Match aimed at consumer's behavior during live football games.

People searching for pirate broadcasts of Manchester vs. Atlético on the Champions League found a match with players, uniforms, commentators, and football, all 100% fake.

Over 90 minutes of entertainment that set football fans in 29 countries abuzz with the opportunity to leave the pirate life behind, with just one click.

This idea put DIRECTV GO face to face with consumers of pirated content; and the brand, instead of confronting them, turned them into customers.



Piracy is part of Brazilian culture. The country's 33 million active consumers of pirated content are proof of this. And the main reason for these numbers are the websites that broadcast football matches illegally over IPTV (Internet Protocol Television).


Historically, the television industry has approached the piracy issue with a monotonous and repetitive message, portraying the users as criminals.

In 2021, DIRECTV GO started offering the country's first 100% legal IPTV service. A product that was not only more accessible than those offered by their regular TV competitors, but more stable and safe than those offered by the underground, featuring live sports broadcasts as its main attraction. A service that had 21% of its target audience among consumers of pirated content.


The brand, which is still unknown in the country, wants to be considered by consumers of live football broadcasts.

Describe the creative idea

Every week, football fans flock to Google to search for illegal football broadcasts. What if we used that consumption habit to activate our brand, and turned these "pirates" into DIRECTV GO customers?

To do that, we purchased search terms used to find illegal websites, and "trolled" our users with a transmission that was, in a word, "special".

On March 15, 2022, Manchester United and Atlético de Madrid faced off in the round of sixteen of the Champions League. People who googled for "pirate" broadcasts of the game ended up finding a 100% "pirate" game between Mão Chester United and Atlético de Mandirituba.

Describe the strategy

Research estimates that 8.4% of piracy consumers are from higher-income classes in Brazil, which shows the issue extends beyond the question of affordability. We realized our communication had to go deeper into our audience’s real interest – being entertained –, and explore our "fun brand" tone of voice.

Timing was essential, as we had a very specific audience to target, rather then speaking broadly to people unconnected to the issue. We knew that, like other illegal activities, piracy has its own symbols and rituals; so we took a deep dive into the piracy user's journey in order to define where we could be most relevant with our message.

We found that, before every major football match, crowds of fans go hunting online for illegal IPTV links on Google and social media in order to watch their teams play. That is when piracy happens: the perfect moment for our campaign.

Describe the execution

Using a Search Ads strategy, we purchased words used by piracy consumers in their searches. For instance, searching "watch champions league free" triggered our ads on the top results.

These ads led to our landing page, where we broadcast 90 minutes of Mão Chester United vs. Atlético de Mandirituba, scripted to include bizarre moments, like an unethical referee and a Cristiano Ronaldo look-alike who couldn't play at all.

In order to bridge the content and our brand, DIRECTV GO was a sponsor of the fake match, offering instant access to the TNT Sports broadcast of the real game, and a 7-day free trial of the app, through two ad formats:

1. vignettes every 5 minutes with a QR Code to the real match;

2. click-to-watch pop-up banners (a classic of pirate websites), leading to the real match.

The full fake match and play-by-play review are available at piratematch.live

Describe the outcome

The idea that started with search ads generated 300% more clicks than all other campaigns by the brand in Champions League matches. The campaign had an amazing reach, impacting over 5 million football fans in 28 countries – with 96% of these impacts being organic.

Match day generated 43% more free trials on the platform than previous search campaigns in Champions League matches.

We also offered our audience a live broadcast lasting more than two hours, with an amazing average stay of 19 minutes.

More than a game, it was content tailored for the fans; true entertainment that engaged the audience and disrupted the market.

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