Vodafone is celebrating its partnership with the British & Irish Lions by demonstrating the power of its network to bring games to every occasion.
"Lions on the loose", created by WPP's bespoke operation Team Red, sees rugby players burst into a rugby club and a wedding. The team then use their scrum skills to help push-start a family's campervan before breaking through a wall into a fan's living room. Throughout the film we see people using their phones and social media to follow and celebrate rugby.
The Lions players featured in the ad are Alun Wyn Jones, Stuart Hogg, Hamish Watson, Tadhg Furlong, Louis Rees-Zammit and Maro Itoje.
Created by Tom Webber and Nick Sheppard, the film aims to summon the feeling of being connected and united during the team's summer tour, demonstrating the power of Vodafone's network to connect fans to the Lions. It was directed by Brent Harris through Birth.
The TV ad will first be aired this evening on ITV during the England vs Scotland Euro 2020 match. It will be shown in live Lions games, the first being the Vodafone 1888 Lions Cup vs Japan on 26 June, when a Channel 4 media sponsorship will be kicking off. This will be the first time in 30 years that a Lions match has been shown on terrestrial TV.
Vodafone will run a Piccadilly Lights takeover from 19 July using new 3D technology.
The campaign also includes an app launched in October 2020 that allows rugby fans to become a Lion virtually, and immerse themselves in Lions action in the countdown to the tour.
Vodafone is the lead partner of the British & Irish Lions for the 2021 tour to South Africa. Max Taylor, consumer director at Vodafone UK, explained that with fans not able to travel with the team, Vodafone wanted to ensure a connected experience from home.
"We always view ourselves as a partner rather than a sponsor: it’s a collaborative effort between ourselves and the Lions, and we want to make sure we’re providing genuine value to them that no other partner can," Taylor said.
"At a time when the fans are disconnected from the tour physically, you want a connectivity brand to be your lead partner – plus it was time for big brands to step up and make sure great events like this can still happen. So we upped the ante – because our job was not just to connect them, but to make out as if they are actually there."
To ensure a lasting legacy Vodafone has been working on multiple initiatives to help at a grassroots level post-tour.