Gingham was originally exported to the world from industrial Manchester, so when Nike chose to use the fabric in their design for the 2012/13 shirt to demonstrate Manchester United’s position as a modern day global exporter of football, we were challenged with showcasing the new home kit alongside the launch of the Gingham inspired Express apparel collection; connecting Nike with the club’s fans and the industrial heritage of the city.
The complex idea was communicated by commissioning Mancunian street poet Mike Garry to write and record ‘The Threads that Weave’. It effortlessly joined the dots between the shirt, the club and the city in an authentic way. This was consolidated with a photo shoot that took three key players; Rio Ferdinand, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, out of their normal environment and placed them in iconic locations in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Capturing the likes of Rio in a record store demonstrated the players connecting with modern day Manchester whilst wearing the apparel. We took all these elements/components and applied them across all Manchester United platforms to run in conjunction with the wider campaign.
The finale of the campaign was the live activation ‘Made of Manchester’. It was held at The Museum of Science and Industry which is internationally renowned for its historical artefacts of the city. Ear to the Ground created a targeted guest list that consisted of the most culturally influential Manchester United fans including music stars, filmmakers, designers and artists.
The main focus at the event was Observer Music journalist Luke Bainbridge conducting a Q&A with Niall Bruton from the Nike brand team, Manchester United Kit Man Albert Morgan as well as current players Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling. Additional content was created via a multi-screen ‘media chandelier’.
Celebrity fans at the event were photographed and wrote hand written messages explaining what Manchester meant to them. They could also record short videos explaining their love of the club and city in the Made of Manchester video booth. Guests were also treated to exclusive sets from some of Manchester’s most iconic music DJs from the legendary Warehouse Project.
Video was captured for use at Manutd.com with fans urged to tweet with all digital amplification driven by the hash tag #MADEOFMANCHESTER which was used across all event branding.
Social media interaction was extremely high and resulted in #MADEOFMANCHESTER being a number one trending topic before, during and after the event. Tweets mentioning #MADEOFMANCHESTER reached 323,253 accounts and made 923,031 impressions during the campaign.
Following the launch of the campaign, the Made of Manchester photo booth was installed at the Manchester United Megastore to allow fans to leave their personal messages; content which the club can use across the rest of the campaign.
The content created from across the campaign was used at www.ManUtd.com and www.Nike.com which have combined monthly web hits of over 20.6 million, resulting in a huge OTV.
The increased exposure of the Express Collection culminated in impressive sell through rates of the three key products that were showcased at the event.
Watch Ear to the Ground’s review of the campaign here, including an interview with Sir Alex Ferguson and footage from the event at the Museum of Science and Industry.