B/R Football is the definitive destination for today’s football fan and one of the top 5 most-engaged sports brands on social media with 36 million cross-platform followers on social, and more than 200 million video views and 125 million engagements per month. In 2022 the brand B/R recorded over 1.75 billion video views and 1 billion engagements.
The team produces unmatched social content, mixing original short-form animation with leading social graphic treatments that continually entertain and test audiences. By creating content tailored to each social platform, B/R Football remains a unique and authentic destination that rings true with fans.
The World Cup presented the biggest stage for the brand and a moment to connect with fans as only it can. With this in mind the B/R Football team set out to create a standout piece of content to kick off the event and let the world now that B/R Football was the place to be throughout the tournament.
All football fans remember how past World Cups have been embellished with iconic adverts by Nike, adidas and more, celebrating the game’s best players with memorable storytelling. For the 2022 World Cup, we wanted to contribute to the long-lasting culture of the tournament with our own piece.
Preparation for our hype tape, scheduled to drop on the day of the first game, began in early summer. Our motif was ‘Time To Play’, aiming to capitalize on the child-like excitement we knew would be felt across the whole world as the tournament was about to kick off. And thus, we quickly settled on the idea, inspired by Toy Story, of the world’s best players as toys, coming to life to play a pick-up game around a child’s bedroom.
Next came identifying an animator, and there was only one choice: Mark Cannataro and his 3D brilliance. For the original soundtrack we enlisted Mike Monson, referencing those iconic ads of the past. Mike delivered a track that perfectly fitted the mood and also left us humming along for days.
The script begins with a reference to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-running GOAT rivalry, before the child leaves the room and the magic begins. We worked on over ten drafts of the ‘moment’ where the toys come to life (0:07), knowing that those first seconds were crucial to hook you into the magic of the story. Once Neymar is introduced, you’re in for the ride, with a sweeping camera shot that sets up the story (0:17).
Including Erling Haaland, trapped in packaging as his Norway team failed to qualify (0:23), was a great idea of Mark’s and one enjoyed by our fans in the comments. We’d have loved to include a player from every participating team, as well as other non-qualifiers like Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Italy’s Jorginho, but time and budget constraints meant we had to narrow down our list.
We’re always looking to pack cultural references into our content, and FIFA-cover star Kylian Mbappe loading up a PS5 beside his Ninja Turtle lookalike Michaelangelo gave us exactly that (0:35).
Next came the speedsters, and what would end up becoming the most challenging scene (0:42). The original line up included Senegal’s Sadio Mané, but injury ruled the forward out of the tournament three days before it started, forcing a last-minute re-render and a few all-nighters, due to Mané’s presence in a few later scenes.
In an unwitting act of prescience, we foretold Harry Kane’s penalty miss against France (1:05), much to the amusement of our followers in the comments (less so to those supporting England!).
We end with another nod to Toy Story, where Woody and Buzz start as enemies but put aside their differences to become friends and save the day. The heroes had to be Messi and Ronaldo, and they spring into action to catch the World Cup trophy before the child returns (1:13).
'Time to Play' generated 82M cross-platform views and 6.3M engagements, but more importantly set the tone for B/R Football and entered into the world football zeitgeist. It also kicked off a series of World Cup coverage and content that stood atop social during the course of the Tournament, which included the ‘Champions of the World’ mini-series (49M total views) and the most engaged day ever for B/R Football on Dec. 18 (35M).