With Italy failing to qualify for the World Cup for a second straight time, one of the country’s leading snack food brands is urging “purposeless” fans across the soccer-mad nation to throw their support behind an improbable choice: Canada.
The Mondelez-owned corn chip brand Fonzies is one of the main sponsors of the Azzurri national team, but with Italy on the sidelines for the tournament in Qatar, it had no choice but to get creative to activate against the world’s largest sporting event.
Developed by Dentsu Italy, the “Fonzies for Canada” campaign is urging Italians who have no rooting interest in this year’s World Cup to back the “team that needs it most.” The campaign is running across out-of-home, social, print, and in-bar experiential, with media planning and buying through Carat Italy.
According to the accompanying release, despite the fact that 1.5 million Canadians claim Italian ancestry, soccer does not rank highly among our preferred sports (although they’ve clearly never been to Toronto during the World Cup).
It does note, however, that Toronto is “a kind of overseas Italian colony,” with more than 600,000 people of Italian ancestry living in the GTA.
The campaign is anchored by a video featuring a Fonzies representative flanked by men holding the Italian and Canadian flags and trying to contain their emotion.
He acknowledges that Italy failed to qualify for the event, but says that football cannot do without his countrymen’s passion. “So we listened to our hearts and decided to donate all our support to another team: Yours. It will be an honour to offer you the most passionate, die-hard supporters in the world.”
The creative is driving to a dedicated microsite, FonziesForCanada.it, where consumers can download a “Fonzies supporter kit” identifying them as a “Proud Italian supporter of Canada” and share it on their social channels. As of midday Tuesday, the supporter kit had been downloaded more than 1,300 times.
“In a moment so tough for supporters of our beloved National Team, together with Dentsu we wanted to achieve something original and unique: a communication campaign representing sports values in an entertaining, modern, positive, 100% Fonzies way,” said Fonzies brand manager Francesco Uguccioni.
Canada, which kicks off its first World Cup appearance in 36 years on Wednesday, entered the tournament with the 24th best odds of winning. But this is a tournament capable of providing lots of upsets, as footballing powerhouse Argentina can no doubt attest after losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia, the team with the lowest odds, on Tuesday.