Pelé is more than a football legend, he’s a timeless global icon that spans generations. He has the respect and admiration of diverse cultural leaders, from The Obamas to today’s rising sports stars. Many editorial outlets published a variety of retrospectives and tributes, but as the team behind Pelé's digital strategy and social channels, we had bigger aspirations than just creating as much earned media as possible around his 80th birthday celebration. Our goal was to connect Pelé with a younger generation of sports, bolstering his existing brand partnerships, forging new partnerships, and building an extended 10 day celebration truly fitting of the greatest #10 in global football history.
We developed a comprehensive 10 day campaign leading up to Pelé’s 80th Birthday on October 23rd, celebrating various aspects of Pelé’s life and legacy through the lens of football, friends, and brand partners — all coming together through 10 unique days of storytelling across Pelé’s social media channels. Through this journey, we used Pelé's birthday as an opportunity to tell “the life story of Pelé” to a whole new generation of fans.
Important partners in Pelé’s career and legacy like FIFA, CBF, EA SPORTS, Hublot, and more participated. Each partner had a dedicated day to deliver a customized tribute which we developed and posted across Pelé’s social channels, including bespoke content and storytelling that was based on unique ownable themes for each partner.
The storytelling and tributes to Pelé came to life through first-person videos and customized graphics referencing aspects of the connection with, and wide-reaching legacy and impact Pelé has had on the sport of football, and beyond. Each day had a dedicated theme to support the many dimensions of Pelé's global impact, uniquely branded and told by the partner that ‘owned' each day.
Our team created and posted 87 unique pieces of content over a 10 day period, spending four months crafting detailed visual stories that were told solely through social media via In-Feed posts and Stories formats. These stories spanned everything from Pelé's unique love and connection with classic cars (with Epic Games Rocket League) to Pelé's time living and playing in New York City, to the timeless nature of his amazing life and legacy told in conjunction with Hublot.
In addition to the content on channels, Rocket League integrated Pelé into the coverage of their South American regional tournament, with everything from a custom car decal to a rebranded "Top Pelé's" segment.
According to Sports Business Journal, "Pelé saw an explosion in social media popularity over the month of October based on a campaign created around his 80th birthday.
Our campaign efforts were 100% organic, running zero paid media or influencer partnerships.
The 10-day campaign generated:
-- 442,000 new organic followers across Pele’s social media accounts
-- 95.7 million Impressions.
-- 11.3 million Total Engagements
-- 87 total pieces of content
-- Over $2MM in media value across the 10-day campaign.
All campaign content is archived on Pele's Instagram with the numbers 1-10 indicating each day counting down to his 80th Birthday
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