The following interview with Jung von Matt/SPORTS’ Managing Director, Holger Hansen, is part of our Campaign Spotlight series, which examines last year’s Hashtag Sports Award-winning work.
Lifetime Tattoo Ticket won for Best Social Media Campaign, which recognizes a campaign that involved the use of one or more social media platforms generating fan or consumer conversation, connection, and results.
What unique objective or goals led to the creation of this work?
The football business is becoming faster and faster. Players who kiss the club badge today are often playing for the arch-rival tomorrow. Those who stay loyal for a lifetime are the fans. That’s why the Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin wanted to give its supporters something that lasts forever. A tattoo as a season ticket that guarantees lifelong free admission to all home games with a QR code.
The tattoo was only awarded to one single fan, who proved his or her true love for the club. But the message was for all football fans. Football in Berlin is more than just a fast business. It gets under your skin for as long as you live.
How was the entry designed and implemented with the modern sports fan in mind?
Hertha Berlin wanted to send a signal for loyalty with the “Lifetime Tattoo Ticket” to the fans and international football community. For this reason, the campaign was announced via an emotional social media video by club legend Andreas “Zecke” Neuendorf, who is well trusted among the supporters.
Only one single tattoo ticket was given away to make the supporters even more curious about it. Every fan could apply for it on social media with pictures and videos.
After one week and over 1,000 applications, the campaign was ended. The winner, Ilja Pankow, a super loyal fan who has followed his team everywhere since he was little, was announced on social media. In a video, we showed him getting his first ever tattoo: the “Lifetime Tattoo Ticket”.
How did this work achieve effective engagement and what measurable outcomes were delivered?
The response was incredible and the flood of applicants didn’t stop. Hertha Berlin fans from everywhere showed their love for the social media campaign and shared their deeply emotional fan stories online and thereby proved their unique passion for the club.
Through the various measures and high PR interest, the social media campaign reached many football fans, and Hertha Berlin managed to create something that has real value for the future—a sign of loyalty for all the supporters. In this way, the social media campaign is deeply rooted in the strategy of the capital city club, whose claim is “The future belongs to Berlin”.
What new benchmark(s) in fan engagement does this set? How will this work inspire and move the industry forward?
Even though there was only one single fan who was awarded with the “Lifetime Tattoo Ticket” the social media campaign engaged the whole fanbase and provided them with the perfect stage to shine.
Through the whole application process on social media, the fans interacted with Hertha Berlin and with the football world in the best way they know – in their one language of passion and love for one club. They were able to share their deepest love stories and their special moments with the online community and thereby they became symbols of loyalty themselves.
The whole communication and interaction through the campaign was determined by the fans as the core message of “loyalty” came from the bottom of the supporter’s heart and was delivered to them by those who they adore – like Hertha legend Andreas “Zecke” Neuendorf.
What do you think made this campaign so appealing to Hertha BSC fans?
The “old lady” of the Bundesliga is the most successful team of the German capital. Through the club’s long history, it has attracted thousands of diehard fans. Most of them “inherited“ their love for Hertha from their parents.
Hertha isn’t a regular club and its fans aren’t just any regular fans. They are a family. They are so deeply connected, you may very well think they’re married to Hertha. And so they vow to stay with their team through good and bad times – until death do them apart.
For some people, it is hard to grasp how someone could genuinely love a football team like that. We wanted to show that Hertha not only understands but truly appreciates it. That’s why we gave their fans the chance to show their loyalty to Hertha with a tattoo that connects them forever.
Can you share a bit about any research that your team conducted while developing this engagement strategy?
If you want to truly understand Hertha you have to know their fans and culture. This, of course, does not happen on a forum on the internet but at their home: the Olympiastadion. That’s where we spent most of our time researching. We talked to the people in the stands about their passion for football and their dreams and hopes for their team.
We observed, interacted and enjoyed the atmosphere. With this foundation, we started thinking about creative ideas that could fit Hertha BSC.
Hertha BSC was one of only 25 inaugural Hashtag Sports Award winners. What does this honor in engagement excellence mean to the club and the Lifetime Tattoo Ticket campaign?
While being a competitive team Hertha isn’t known for its success but for its fans, their traditions, and culture. The award acknowledges the team’s commitment to stay true to this certitude.
It also shows that stories in football can be told anywhere: On the pitch, the stands, social media and now even on the skin of fans.
We’re now accepting entries for the 2020 Hashtag Sports Awards presented by Budweiser. Ensure your company’s work is recognized for excellence in engagement alongside our inaugural class of winners. Click here to view the categories or click here to get started.