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Malaysia Airlines put bums on seats with LFC MH Global football team

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“We aren’t the first to sponsor a football club…”

Sponsorship of football clubs among airlines is pretty common – Etihad does it with Manchester City, Emirates with Arsenal, and Qatar Airlines with FC Barcelona. And typically, such sponsorships entitles the brand to tickets to live football matches at the home stadium of the football club.

However, to generate the kind of buzz Malaysia Airlines was looking for, it needed to go beyond the typical “money-can’t-buy” experience.

“Don’t just watch your favourite Liverpool players at Anfield; live the life of a Liverpool player.”

Football fans aspire to be like their football idols – owning their football kit, copying their game play and goal celebrations, with some also mimicking their look, from their hairstyles to their fashion. But what if you could take it further and literally live their life for 90 minutes, on the field? You could lay claim to the possibility of scoring a goal at the home of LFC, at Anfield itself, like your idol did. Now that’s something even fewer can brag about, beyond just a stadium visit.


This gave birth to the idea of forming the Malaysia Airlines MH Global Team: an opportunity to play the match of their lives at Anfield, with fans from the 10 countries, vying for a spot to play in the MH Global Teams to be helmed by two LFC legends i.e. Robbie Fowler and Gary McAllister.

By putting together players from all 10 countries, this one idea - besides clearly associating Malaysia Airlines to the UK – was also able to simultaneously showcase its global network.

To participate, all LFC fans had to do was to upload a video online – a simple mechanic for an increasingly video world, to drive virality and brand engagement -  in which they showed why they considered themselves “LFC’s biggest fans” whilst showing off their football skills.

However, the brand was mindful that as great an experience it was providing, it wouldn’t mean much to Malaysia Airlines’ bottom-line if the campaign remained an experience for just 20 lucky LFC fans. Thus, it set out to bring everyone on the journey via a content-first approach.

At the heart of this strategy was a collaboration with the No.1 online platform for football,, which involved the creation of a content ecosystem featuring > 100 pieces of branded editorial and video content for fans – from post-match content, exclusive footage of the most memorable LFC games at Anfield, video interviews of visiting LFC fans at Anfield to drive fan envy, on top of frequent campaign content updates on sites and social media.


1. “Spark excitement”:

• Call-for-entry video featuring LFC legends Robbie Fowler and Gary McAllister; video distribution via Google’s Display Network,, Facebook, and YouTube (international); Youku and Baidu (China); and (UK)

• Online seeding via three types of influencers who were also hardcore LFC fans: celebrities, media influentials (CEOs/sports editors from media organisations) and online personalities.

2. “Fuel the passion”

With and Malaysia’s top radio stations, it then went on-ground nationwide and expanded globally:

• Roadshows held in conjunction with Malaysia’s most anticipated travel fair (MATTA Fair)

• 10 football coaches connected to one of the largest and oldest volunteer football leagues in Malaysia, who promoted the contest to 1,000 players under their care

• Places where it would most likely find LFC fans: from LFC outlets in the focus countries, to the places where football was played and which often host LFC fans for match viewings (i.e. bars, cafe/restaurants, futsal halls, and colleges/universities.)

3. “Journey to Anfield”

Beyond the 20 winners, it brought all others on the journey through frequent content updates on sites and social media.

It designed the experiences for the 20 lucky winners as content creations opportunities which included:

• Stadium tour with LFC’s all-time top-scorer Ian Rush

• LFC Academy coaching sessions that included entertaining challenges such as the “Crossbar Challenge”

• Team Fowler vs. Team McAllister match livestream on The match was given the full “English Premier League”-treatment when it came to its broadcast (think: up to 12 camera angles stadium-wide including professional sports commentary).


1. Jump in awareness of Malaysia Airline’s LFC sponsorship – from 39% to 62% after the campaign** – well above the campaign’s objective of 50%.

2. Fuelled buzz and engagement:

• 10,748,048 interactions (e.g. views, shares, comments and “likes”) across all content assets (campaign posts, localized language articles and video content), on and across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo and WeChat***

• On social media, average engagement rate was 12.87%, outperforming the industry norm of 1.4%-2%***

• LIVE Match Cast saw more than 846,431 fans tuning in on***

3. >RM10 Million in PR value*** - from newspaper articles across the major dailies and TV interview invitations on major TV news channels (featuring the CEO of MAB and also interviews with the MH Global Team players).

4. Turned around online sentiments for the brand – reversing the >15-month negative net sentiment trend into a high of 77% during the campaign*.

5. Load factors improved in the countries where the campaign ran, during its seasonally low sales period (Mac-May) – load factor for flights to the UK improving from 85% to 93%, amidst growing competition*.

* Client data
** Pre- and post-campaign tracking, Perform Media Group, n= >8,000, 10 countries
*** Client post-campaign tracker;

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Malaysia Airlines
March - May 2017
Media Channel:
Branded Content,Events,Online
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