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Launched in 2011, the Carling Black Label Cup made waves across the country by giving the everyday South African fan the opportunity to select their preferred starting line-up, and stand a chance to lead their team to victory on match-day, as the Champion Coach. The brand introduced this unique football spectacle to give fans an unprecedented opportunity to directly influence one of the biggest football rivalries ahead of the upcoming football season.

After 7 years, the event’s appeal began to fade, impacting relevance and sales. In 2018, the Cup was postponed, resulting in greater sales and relevance losses: By end of Q2 2018, the brand faced catastrophic volume losses, and a long-term relevance decline, which was most pronounced amongst under 30s. Furthermore, engagement amongst Premier Soccer League fans was at an all-time low, following violent club protests, poor in-stadia experiences, and a boring playing style resulting in few goals (relative to international leagues). 


To better understand the factors at the core of fans frustration, we interviewed some of South Africa's most prominent coaches (active and retired), journalists and analysts. In addition, we conducted formal research in 4 key markets, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and England (England was included as a control group, to test local Vs. international feedback) - we asked fans a simple questions – if you had the chance, how / what would you change the game, to improve the overall experience? Based on feedback, we identified a number of key themes and patterns – fans were frustrated by the lack of innovation in football and wanted more influence over their favourite clubs.

True to the purpose of the Carling Black Label Cup, in responding to, and empowering the voice of the Champion fan, in 2019, Carling Black Label relaunched the campaign with a new mission – to give fans an opportunity to shape the future of football. In addition to the selection of the starting-line-up, fans were now given the opportunity to vote on a selection of changes to the game. 7 selected "Game Changers" were introduced and the most voted for would be implemented come game day. We proposed a set of Game Changer innovations - 4th substitute for goalkeeper, select the captain, Twitter selects substitution, rolling subs, yellow card timeout, Twitter selects Man of the Match, and ref microphone. Fans voted on which Game Changer they wanted via on-pack mechanic to mobile, website, Twitter, and radio call-ins. 


The revitalised campaign drove unprecedented engagement and a 7% increase in sales - the highest volume growth over the same period in 10 years. We successfully re-engaged our fan base and catapulted Brand Power to number 1 in the category (from 3rd). We reached 90% of the total adult population, and received an avg. of +24 000 daily votes. Most importantly, the campaign resonated with young adults: Penetration amongst 18-24s grew 29% (from 11.9% to 15.4%), meaning increased by 15 points, and match day attracted 1.8m more young adult viewers than an average PSL game. The refreshed concept captured the public and media’s attention, generating a 7X earned media return on the advertising investment, at total of $10 million.


Vizeum accelerates business growth through media. Vizeum digs deep into their clients’ business goals and creates innovative solutions to achieve these challenges. Bringing idea-driven solutions that transform media from a numbers game to a game changer, from analytics to answers. This is their passion and commitment to their clients which include Burberry, AB InBev, Total, Burger King, Calvin Klein and William Grant & Sons. 

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