Wake The Town
Stuck in Motion
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

Problem Solved: How VMLY&R COMMERCE Mexico Turned Football Jerseys into Digital Wallets


Executive creative director Adriano Lombardi on creating an innovative payment solution to drive both sales and love for the Corona brand

Problem Solved: How VMLY&R COMMERCE Mexico Turned Football Jerseys into Digital Wallets

A multidisciplinary creative with a visual communication and arts background, born and raised in Buenos Aires. 

With more than 18 years of experience, award-winning creative Adriano Lombardi’s career has brought him to WPP agencies across Argentina, Peru, Colombia and most recently Mexico, where he serves as executive creative director at VMLY&R COMMERCE Mexico.   

Adriano has created industry-defining work for global clients, including Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Unilever, Mondeléz, Campari, Mazda, Chevrolet, Puma, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Belcorp, and Diageo among others. His experience across South America provides him with both local and regional multicultural experience and insights.

An award-winning creative, Adriano has had success across Cannes Lions, D&AD, The One Show, PHNX Awards, El Sol de San Sebastian, El Ojo de Iberoamerica, and more.  

He has also served as a juror at international awards shows and now mentors the next generation of creatives as a university lecturer.


Adriano> We launched a new payment solution that turned football jerseys into digital wallets. To enjoy a cold Corona beer at football stadiums without using cash, people only needed to connect with a sales vendor, who had the “Jersey Tap Logo”, and tap the badge of their football jersey. Using a POS terminal, the vendor put their contactless device to the badge and instantly charged the beer to the customer’s account. To make it even more compelling, every beer in the stadium was sold at retail price (which is at least half the cost of a beer normally within the stadium). The idea represents our Creative Commerce discipline at its best.  An innovative payment solution – solving a cultural and social tension in Latin American stadiums – while also creating a new business model and great commerce play by Corona using the most valuable possession a football fan can have – their team jersey – to drive both sales and love for the brand.


LBB> What was the initial brief or problem set out by the client?

Adriano> Corona was seeing a clear reduction in the volume of beer sales inside football stadiums.  While there were many theories as to why this was happening, in the end what they needed most was an innovative response to tackle the problem and revert the situation.

LBB> And after a bit of digging around, what did you discover the ‘real’ problem to be (and what thinking or research brought you there)?

Adriano> The real issue is that football stadiums in Latin-America are loud, crowded and sadly, unsecure. The math is quite simple: crowded places equal pickpocketing, leaving football fans taking measures to protect their belongings. Those measures equated to fans not bringing cell phones or wallets to the stadiums, but instead only their most valuable possession – their team jersey. 


LBB> After breaking down the initial problem, what were your first steps?

Adriano> We researched various stadiums to better understand football fans’ behavior, their alcohol purchase journey, how much money they brought, how safe they felt, and more.  What we realized almost immediately though was the one thing everyone was bringing – their team’s jersey. That was the starting point for us to think about a new payment solution.

LBB> And how did you arrive at what sort of shape the solution would take? What options or ideas did the ideation process throw out?

Adriano> We started to think about a simple yet clever way to add an NFC tag (similar to the ones used on contactless credit cards) to a jersey without melting the circuits. It definitely wasn’t easy, but we managed to find the perfect temperature to stamp it on and then add a plastic cover to protect it from water (even though the tag itself was waterproof, we wanted to ensure it would hold up well to both weather and washing).

LBB> Was the problem relatively straightforward to ideate around or were there any blocks or challenges? How did you crack it? Was it a case of having to sift through a multitude of ideas and ‘murder some darlings’ or were ideas quite hard to come by (and why)?

Adriano> While getting the tag itself to adhere was the first challenge, we also faced having to synchronize the AB InBev e-commerce platform with the accounts of the users and then linking it back their football jerseys. That required a lot of really hard work both with the physical store personnel and the programming of the platform to accommodate this new feature.

LBB> Where did you look for inspiration?

Adriano> Inspiration is out there all the time!  In this case, seeing all of the fans with their jerseys was all we needed for inspiration.  Afterall, it is the most valuable thing they bring with them to the stadiums!


LBB> Tell us about what you think were the interesting aspects of the designing and prototyping process.

Adriano> Iteration is the magical word.  Repeating the process again and again to get it right. Being able to make mistakes was amazing – it’s a dynamic that motivates you to try even harder. The bigger the error, the bigger the motivation to solve it. Many tags were burnt and thrown away (and when I say many, I mean MANY!), but that never stopped us from trying again.

LBB> What were the most interesting conversations or challenges that emerged at this stage? (could be technical, could be emotional, aesthetic… really, what was the grit in this oyster!?)

Adriano> While getting the tags to adhere was definitely a challenge, once we overcame that, our first attempt at using them inside the stadium was definitely a moment to remember. We had everything in place – our POS terminals, fans had their jerseys.  Everything was set to go, until the stadium WIFI started running slow, making the transactions fail. Facing the challenge of ongoing connectivity at the stadium was no easy task.  While the brand negotiated to have the internet connection enhanced as part of an overall stadium renovation plan, we opted to install exclusive, temporary networks for each match, allowing our devices to be online.  It was configured such that only our POS could make transactions with the jerseys, and needed to be uninstalled after each match.  It was definitely a super painful moment to get to the end result we needed, but we knew we had to make this work.

LBB> And what sort of talent/collaborators/specialisms did you have to reach out to and work with at this stage, and what did they bring to the mix?

Adriano> There were so many of them – people working with the technology itself (they worked with POS terminals and contactless technology in Cancun resorts), programmers from our agency, the client themselves, and a huge production team. It was a group of super talented people who wouldn’t take no for an answer. 

LBB> Were there any novel technologies or creative risks that you had to play with, design around and if so, how did you navigate that?

Adriano> Luckily, we were able to develop the idea as planned.


LBB> How did testing and iteration factor into your approach to this project? 

Adriano> A lot, to be honest. The project keeps iterating as it gets bigger. Now we are iterating with the scalability, which is also an issue. But as I said earlier, it was key for us to make the idea as great and bold as it is.

LBB> What were some of the spicier issues and tweaks and back-and-forths that emerged from your testing and learning?

Adriano> We really had a hard time with the NFC tags.  It was a continual fight to avoid them getting melted. Around the 46th attempt, we suddenly realized the tag we were testing was intact, still attached to the back of the badge, and working as we envisioned.  You should have seen us celebrating – it was like we’d won the World Cup!

LBB> Now that the project is live, how is data and feedback helping to refine it?

Adriano> The amount of data we’re getting back is monumental.  We’re now able to track how many and what types of beer our consumers are having, the overall sales at the venues and more. It’s amazing to be able to take advantage of that data and use it to not only perfect the customer journey, but to also help our partners at AB InBev understand how inside stadium sales work in real time.

LBB> Looking back over the whole project, what were the most personally interesting aspects of it for you?

Adriano> I’ve always known that you have to work hard to make things happen, but with this campaign, I learned you have to work even harder to make innovative ideas happen. The Creative Commerce discipline is completely new and this project is the perfect example of creativity focused on inspiring conversion in the moment – it was an idea that touched people’s hearts, but also helped to grow business.  That’s what Creative Commerce is really all about, taking a unified look at the purchase journey and ultimately arriving at the most creatively engaging, but culturally relevant commerce experience for our client.  We definitely did that with Jersey Pay.

LBB> And what impact has this project had on your client’s business or the initial problem you set out to solve - either anecdotal or data-based, depending on the nature of the project?

Adriano> The outcome has been phenomenal.  During the first week of the pilot launch alone, we saw:

• +35% In-Stadium Sales Volume

• +25% Store Footfall

• 30k Tags inserted

• Consumption database of 30,000 people created within Modelorama Now 

view more - Behind the Work
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.

Categories: Alcoholic Beverages, Beers

VMLY&R COMMERCE Mexico, Fri, 26 Aug 2022 08:26:55 GMT