Innovation That Matters

The campaign engaged football viewers by hijacking the VAR to offer discounts on TVs | Photo source Nord DDB

Ad campaign co-opts football referee video assistant


An ad campaign for a Nordic electronics retailer offers discounts every time the video assistant is called in for a football game

Spotted: Nordic electronics retailer Elgiganten, which operates in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, recently launched an ad campaign that co-opted the video assistant referee (VAR) used in football games. During football matches, the referee calls for the VAR by forming the outline of a television with his or her hands. The brand used this to tie the use of the VAR in with a discount.

Every time the referee made the VAR signal, Elgiganten would activate an online discount for one of its televisions. The discount would last for only one hour. Crucially, the amount of the discount was tied into the time of the call. So, if a referee called for the VAR 35 minutes into the game, the discount would be for 35 per cent off.

The discounts did not show up on television but were pushed online, using social media. The social media campaign encouraged viewers to watch for the VAR call. Of course, if one came up early in the game, they also had to decide whether to hold out for a later call and a greater discount. The discounts were capped at 45 per cent.

According to the ad agency who came up with the idea, Nord DDB, the “VAR Discount,” “made its debut in the match between Liverpool and Man City. Which resulted in a big win for the brand — without having to pay anything in sponsorship costs. Instead, Elgiganten will stay in the middle of the action all season. Just by making VAR something to look forward to.” The ad debuted in a match between Liverpool and Manchester City and in just one hour Elgiganten sold 313 TVs, for 2.4 million DKK (€320751) – more than paying back the cost of the spot. 

Consumers are becoming more used to being bombarded with ads. This means that it takes a clever approach to rise above the constant hubbub of everyday ads. Other ads we have seen recently that stand out include a campaign by a Cincinnati bank that replaces retail ads with encouragements to save and a campaign by a brand that supports children’s lemonade stands.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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