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Chloe Stout 08.10.2020 In the News, Marketing & Business Development, Marketing Tips, Social Media

Marketing Campaigns That Made My Hometown Global

Over the past few weeks, Stevenage has become a global sensation thanks to two massive marketing campaigns run by two completely different brands with two completely different goals.

These campaigns have two things in common, however:

  1. The cost per acquisition was low
  2. Both were people-focused.

This is the direction that marketing is heading in. People want to see people. In a time when human contact is restricted, seeing human beings and hearing human stories is what people are desperate for.

We are, of course, talking about Burger King’s collaboration with Stevenage Football Club and Molly-Mae Hauge’s Instagram giveaway.


Burger King x Stevenage FC

DISCLAIMER: There will be NO whopper puns in this article. Read risk-free. You’re welcome.


This ground-breaking campaign allowed Burger King to advertise its brand across a number of platforms that are rarely touched by advertising.

Video games try to restrict adverts on their platform to create a more relaxing, entertaining environment. But Burger King found a clever way around this…

Back in 2019, Stevenage FC announced Burger King as their major sponsor. You’ve probably never even heard of Stevenage before. I’m pretty certain the American fast-food chain hadn’t! So why not choose a bigger club?


They chose to sponsor fourth division club, Stevenage, at a much cheaper price, knowing that this would get their logo into the annually released, FIFA 20. The game would allow them to get their name on all the big footballers as players can sign whoever they want on to any team.

Since then, Stevenage FC has become the most played team in competitive mode and 25,000 goals have been shared online. Burger King encouraged this by asking fans around the world to “Turn a small team in the real world into the biggest team online.”

In return, they were in with a chance of winning Burger King prizes, but is this really what inspired gamers to play Stevenage?

There are two things that everyone loves – a challenge and the underdog.

People got involved with this challenge, not just to win burgers, but to join a community with one goal in mind: to make the world know Stevenage F.C. In fact, the Sun newspaper reported that Burger King “used FIFA 20 to promote awareness of the club.” This shows that people believed that the fast-food chain’s aim was to promote Stevenage rather than their own brand.

Both players and Burger King achieved their goal. Players signed their favourite players from around the world to Stevenage. And so, the biggest names in football could be seen with the Burger King logo plastered across their chest.

Of course, Burger King’s true aim was to get their name and brand seen by millions of gamers worldwide. But by marketing the campaign with small club Stevenage as the focus, they gained people’s sympathy. People want to support people. Not a brand.

Consequently, Burger King wasn’t the only one who benefitted from the collaboration.

The Stevenage kit was largely mocked for its strange design and concept, but when it was released CEO, Alex Tunbridge, hoped the kits would be “part of an iconic campaign”.

And it certainly was!

Since then, the shirts have sold out for the first time in club history and have shipped to the UAE, Japan, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and USA. Truly a global sensation.


Now admittedly, this campaign was actually from last year but was only recently picked up by news outlets. Because of this, Burger King’s #StevenageChallenge competition has been brought back for a limited time.

The original campaign only lasted a week and look at how much it achieved!


Molly-Mae’s Giveaway

In other news, local girl, Molly-Mae Hague, recently held a small giveaway that blew up.

Not sure why exactly…

Might have had something to do with the prize being worth £8,000 and featuring Louis Vuitton bags and “Apple goodies”.

£8,000 is a massive amount to spend on an Instagram giveaway, but the marketing campaign was actually very cheap thanks to the ROI. According to marketingexamples.com, the giveaway resulted in:

With a total increase of 1,030,000 followers, her cost per acquisition works out at £0.00776699 (A.K.A. less than 1p per follower).

The influencer advertised the giveaway as a celebration of achieving 1 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, writing “Since the age of 16 I’ve had this dream and goal in my mind and today we did it… my mind is blown.” This sentence alone gains sympathy and attention. It makes people want to join in and help her celebrate.

But the giveaway was always a business decision.

When Molly-Mae left Love Island in 2019, she had 2 million followers on Instagram, whereas her business (@filterbymollymae) continues to lag behind. Despite being almost a year old, the account still hasn’t hit 700,000 followers. If this account gained 550,000 new followers during the giveaway, the business wasn’t gaining any traction and just sitting at 100,000 followers.

Unsurprisingly, Hague’s goal for this giveaway was to bring more of her current followers over to her business account. This is the best way to run business giveaways.

Encouraging current fans to follow a different account means that these followers are more likely to enjoy the content produced and so will keep following once the giveaway ends. The account grows and sustains this growth.

However, if you simply encourage strangers to follow your brand, it’s likely that they’ll unfollow once the giveaway has ended and they’ve lost. There can only be one winner and they probably won’t enjoy the content.


The added bonus for Molly-Mae was the increased followers on her YouTube and personal Instagram where she’s currently advertising her new collection with Pretty Little Thing. The giveaway ran at a prime time for her businesses.


Moving Forward…

Unsurprisingly, the success of these campaigns has inspired companies.

For example, innocent Smoothies have just announced their partnership with Forest Green Rovers Football Club. They’re running their campaign slightly different to Burger King, however, by asking their fans to name the stadium.

The campaign fits their brand perfectly.

The football club they’ve chosen is known as ‘The World’s Greenest Football Club’, promoting innocent’s work towards sustainability as a health orientated brand.

Although fun and creative, the campaign isn’t getting anywhere near as much traction as the Burger King x Stevenage partnership.


One of Molly-Mae’s biggest partners, Pretty Little Thing, attempted a giveaway on a similar scale – giving away a prize worth £5,000, including Apple products and Filter by Molly-Mae.

Despite the prize being just as desirable as Molly-Mae’s, Pretty Little Thing only racked up 100,000 entrants.


The question is, where did these companies go wrong?

Answer: neither feature human beings nor human stories.

Naming a stadium is fun and all, but will this improve somebody’s life? Will it celebrate an achievement or have any purpose?

The Forest Green Rovers are just as unknown as Stevenage F.C. was, but people cared more about Stevenage because they wanted to make them famous. There was a goal that they wanted to achieve and so participated in the campaign.

Similarly, Pretty Little Thing’s giveaway was pretty much a duplicate of Molly-Mae’s. They even ran it the same way, asking fans to “Tag your BFF” to enter. But it was random and unplanned.

The giveaway was marketed as a back to university giveaway, but, due to their partnership, Pretty Little Thing fans are also likely to be Molly-Mae fans. This campaign fell short because it began a week after the original ended. Fans have seen it all before, and are bored.

Why would they enter this giveaway just to lose again?




How can you use these strategies successfully in your business?

People buy people is what we’ve learned. You don’t need expensive celebrities to be the face of your business to be successful.

Your customers want to get to know you. Keep your content and communication down to earth and realistic. Let your audience know who you are through your voice and imagery. Keep it casual and light.

While it’s not necessary to spend, consider if expenses would be a worthwhile investment.

If you want to run a competition, make sure you run it right…

  • Give your audience an incentive, make sure it has a purpose
  • Consider the timing, is there an event or business venture you could tie it in with?
  • Don’t try to attract strangers, but reach out to your demographic
  • Be original! Definitely don’t copy somebody else’s campaign



3Search is an award-winning UK recruitment consultancy, specialising in recruiting marketing experts for the digital age.

Whether you’re seeking new talent or looking for your next career move, we can help.

Learn more at www.3search.co.uk

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