For a generation, soccer/futbol was one man: Pelé. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award.
That same year, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. But even for legends, memories can fade over time. Our challenge was to refresh the world’s recollection, and to help reintroduce the Pelé brand to modern audiences, opening-up new partnership opportunities.
The key, as we saw it, was to make Pelé more current and personable. We started by building a contemporary brand book for the Pelé brand. Based on 3 guiding values and 3 personality traits from Pelé’s incomparable life, we formed a new creative identity that conveyed a profound humanity and depth of character beyond his athletic accomplishments. A stylized isologotype from Pelé’s signature provided energetic style with a personal touch to new branded endeavors. A silhouette of that famous bicycle kick also became central to designs, used explicitly or echoed in photographs that nod to Pelé’s enduring influence.
Leveraging our new messaging DNA, we proceeded to tell his stories and employ a clear, compelling and consistent analytics-driven social strategy. Our social strategy focused on interacting with young star players—Mohamed Salah, Ronaldinho Gaúcho, Kylian Mbappé— and joining trending conversations that paid off big time.
Our style book went beyond digital, propelling Pelé into dozens of new spheres of contemporary business and sustaining his global influence. Today, Pelé serves as a spokesperson for Hublot watches and Visa credit cards. Most recently, the legendary Brazilian soccer player has opened a New York City flagship store in the heart of Times Square as well as in Miami and Orlando. In this generation, as in the last, the name Pelé will continue to conjure up heroism, but also, the best of humanity.
We increased Pelé's follower growth rate on Twitter by 4-times and gained over a million new organic Instagram followers across Asia, U.S. and Latin America—within just a few months.