Football players tend not to be the best vocalists, as even the most ardent fans of World in Motion have to admit. Nonetheless, throughout the pandemic, viewers have had their ears assaulted by the tuneless droning of soccer players singing their national anthems ahead of international matches – no enthusiastic crowds of supporters to drown them out.
So, when BUPA and Geometry Colombia wanted to urge people across Latin America to get a Covid-19 vaccination, they had the perfect bit of leverage. The raw recordings of various countries’ anthems as ‘sung’ by their team. At this summer’s Copa América, Bupa put out a campaign featuring real recordings of teams including Ecuador, Chile and Colombia belting out their anthem – the message being that the only way to drown out the terrible singing would be to get vaccinated so stadia can once more open to fans.
Edwin Pineda, creative director at Geometry Colombia spoke about the idea behind the campaign and why the execution hinged on working with the real recordings of the teams.
LBB> Why was the Copa América such a good opportunity to spread the vaccination message? From a demographic perspective, did soccer fans give you and BUPA access to a particular demographic that you were eager to motivate?
Edwin> Unlike local tournaments, the teams represent an entire country and, as a consequence, it breaks down the barrier of "fan" to have millions of fans and non-fans supporting their national team. While we knew that the matches would be played behind closed doors, the opportunity arose when a few voices sang the anthem of a country, a lonely and out of tune song, it was for this reason that it was decided to use the original audios of the players singing and with this achieve what we all know and that is that listening to the anthem of your country sung by thousands is something that moves you no matter if you are a soccer fan or not
LBB> What is the general attitude towards vaccines in Latin America, and were there any particular obstacles that BUPA would like to address?
Edwin> The main problem is that there are many myths and unfounded beliefs in spontaneous conversations that people hold in networks and on the street, all this misinformation feeds fear and uncertainty around the subject, this is something that not only happens in Latin America but in most of the world. The main message of the brand is that we continue to face this situation united and informing ourselves in official media as the best way to get out of it soon.
LBB> How did you come up with the idea of the anthems and the fact that teams need the crowds to dispense with their off-key singing?
Edwin> The idea was born with Manuel Bordé [VMLY&R Commerce’s global CCO], when we talked about it we thought it was a simple, powerful and necessary idea, we knew that all soccer lovers in Latin America were thinking the same thing - The emotion of the game is not felt the same with empty stadiums - and we also know that although the players were left with their voice exposed by not having thousands of fans hiding their off-key form it is something that is forgiven because their talent is with the ball and not with the singing.
LBB> And from a production standpoint, how were you able to find the recordings of the teams singing their anthems?
Edwin> We knew it was necessary to use the original audios, although it would not have been difficult to try to recreate them, there are two things that are difficult to achieve in a studio and that is the reality and the emotion of the moment, that nervousness and courage that only those who are going to live it feel.
LBB> What was the response to the campaign?
Edwin> It was published mainly on Bupa's own networks, with a 79% increase in share of voice, which has made the whole team very happy.