Behind the Work in association withThe Immortal Awards

How Telekom Is Bringing Together German Footie Fans

Advertising Agency
Berlin, Germany
Fabian Frauenderka, creative director at adam&eveBerlin, shares how the team took 250+ extras and made them feel like “a single ecstatic organism” celebrating the UEFA EURO’s, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani
When the European footballing season kicks off, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere it brings. This year, to mark the UEFA EURO’s in Germany, Telekom partnered with adam&eveBerlin, DDB Hamburg and director Andreas Nilsson to capture the unique comradery the sport achieves with its fans.

In this latest campaign, with over 250 people on set, the team was able to create an atmosphere of togetherness. As the huge group of people moved in unison together, it was contrasted with empty-feeling, still shots to show just how quiet it can get when football season isn’t in full swing. To make the spot not only entertaining and unique, but to put a smile on people’s faces, the aim was to target every kind of football fan, from the hardcore, every-game watcher to the seasonal footie fans.

Sharing how the team made everyone come together to mimic the atmosphere of the beautiful game, adam&eveBerlin’s creative director Fabian Frauenderka tells LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about making a collective feel like “a single ecstatic organism.”

LBB> Capturing the atmosphere of footballing events is tricky to achieve. What were the initial discussions for this campaign like, and what feeling were you trying to capture?

Fabian> We were very clear on what we didn’t want to do: a super-cool football commercial showing super-cool people cheering in a super-cool way. That’s why we approached the film in a much more conceptual way, trying to steer away from the usual advertising tropes and find a tone that was more dry and theatrical, to make our campaign more entertaining and sticky than the competition.

LBB> Who were Deutsche Telekom targeting in this spot and how did the storyline support this?

Fabian> The brief said the general target group was people with an affinity for football, which is just a kind way of saying, “Please make it work for everyone.”

LBB> The ad features quite a lot of people moving in sync. How did you cast for the spot and what was the on-set atmosphere like?

Fabian> We cast about 10 featured extras whose facial expressions were significantly important because they  influenced the energy of the scene. So, the casting task was: “Scream your guts out!” and hell, they did. Then we filled up the scene with 250 more extras. Getting all of them to move in sync was tricky and took time. But the energy on set was great and everyone kept jumping and screaming and jumping and screaming. So we all made our health apps proud that day.

LBB> There’s a real sense of community which comes through from the movement you created. How did you choreograph this and were there any challenges?

Fabian>  We had a professional choreographer on set who worked closely with us to find the best visual translation of togetherness. However, finding the right movement and way of cheering was much more difficult than expected. Some movements didn't look good on camera, and others came across as too violent and aggressive. The movement that we ultimately created was perfect because it allowed all individuals to become a single ecstatic organism.

LBB> Talk us through the football culture in Germany and which aspects of it you were focused on for this spot.

Fabian> Germany is extremely football-crazy. After the very successful 2006 World Cup in Germany, EURO 2024 is the next major football event that we host, and everyone is crazy about it. So we thought having a bit of craziness in our campaign might be a not-too-crazy idea. And I think that’s the right approach for the topic. Football is not glossy, and not a lifestyle product. In the end, it’s a quite simple and dualistic, yet highly emotional sport. And we tried to stay true to that by crafting it almost like a chanted composition that plays with just as simple, football-related contrasts: cheers and silence, happiness and sadness, win and lose, good and bad, empty and full.

LBB> The contrast in shots makes for a beautiful pace within the film. Was this contrast planned for during the pre-production or was it all down to the edit? How did everyone on the team get on board with the tempo?

Fabian> This contrast was planned from the start. A campaign like this benefits more from repeating existing scenes than displaying a smorgasbord of scenes and jokes. Together with Andreas Nilsson, we felt the jokes here were not the written gags. What makes the film entertaining and unique is breaking the normal pattern of overloading an ad with funny gags. Instead, we focused on creating an unusual structure and rhythm, not a gag fest.

LBB> Using the dog and the naked man to break up the crowds is a stroke of genius. Why were these two things the best interludes to break up the story?

Fabian> You know what, we actually had the dog taking a shit on the empty square and we all felt this would be the defining shot of the campaign. It was funnier on paper than it was on camera, I can tell you that. But we always knew that we would need one or two snappy interludes to break up the rhythm of the film because the story, as punchy and direct as it is, is very linear. You will get the conceptual idea after a few seconds. So, we needed something unexpected in between. The dog makes the empty square appear even more empty and abandoned, and as for the naked man, he was a terrific choice to get a moment of ‘WTF’ and a completely different layer of ‘sad and happy’ into the film.

LBB> In terms of the colour grading, what was the aesthetic you were looking for and how did you consider this during the shoot?

Fabian> The overall ambition was to make the film look cinematic and sophisticated. The visuals and aesthetics needed to be punchy and colourful, but the aim was not to make it look and feel like an exploding piñata (which was difficult with 250+ extras in the picture). Therefore, we had a very close eye on set design and styling as well.

LBB> What are some of the challenges of conveying a storyline within 30 seconds and how did you ensure the sentiment came across?

Fabian> The biggest challenge is that we didn’t have 30 seconds. For our campaign, we had 18 seconds to tell the storyline and 12 seconds that needed to tell the official Deutsche Telekom and UEFA partnership. So the question was: what is the simplest and shortest way to make our point? (Which usually is a good question on every brief.)

LBB> Are there any other campaign assets or parts which follow on from this one?

Fabian> For now, the film is only planned to run on TV. So far, the reception of the campaign is great. Actually, we’ve only received one negative piece of feedback, and that was a legal warning letter from a direct competitor. I take that as a compliment. 

LBB> Would you like to add anything else?

Fabian> Sure. Die Wahrheit liegt auf dem Platz. [The truth is on the pitch.]

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