homepage_name! > Editions > Number 109 > Interview - CARLSBERG

Jovana Mladenović, Communication Manager, Marko Simić, Marketing Manager and Veljko Ilić, Trade Marketing Manager Carlsberg Srbija

We All Cheer!

In order to spark national pride in all sports fans and emphasize the importance of state symbols, such as the national anthem and the flag, the LAV Pivo beer brand organized a campaign called “Podrška od lavova” (“Supported by Lions”) to support all Serbian athletes in future competitions. Football fever is gaining momentum and the verses of the new Serbian football fans’ anthem have been echoing throughout the country for days to show support for our athletes! In addition to the anthem, Serbian flags will be hoisted to show support, while fans will find their seats in the stadium and their place in the hearts of our athletes. We invite you to show support for our athletes and join the family of fans, because nothing is better than having a full stadium greet you and shout in support of you. That is, at least, what our celebrated athletes Aleksandar Đorđević, Dejan Stanković, Dragan Stojković Piksi, Vanja Grbić, Dejan Savić, Saša Ilić, Marina Maljković, and many others say, who have shown support for the “Podrška od lavova” (“Supported by Lions”) campaign, sung the new football fans’ anthem and stood alongsideour athletes. But, athletes were not the only ones whosupported other athletes! For example, Nenad Jezdić, Jovan Memedović, Seka Aleksić and Aleksandar Stojanović are among many well-known people who, despite being highly successful in their careers, always find time to support Serbia on its path to success. The LAV football fans’ anthem has been heard by more than 200 thousand football fans – become one of them! Let us show everyone how great we are and what we can accomplish together!

Ms. Jovana Mladenović, Communication Manager, Mr. Marko Simić, Marketing Manager and

Mr. Veljko Ilić, Trade Marketing Manager at Carlsberg Srbijaspeak for Profit magazine.

LAV pivo decided to take on a big task by awakeningSerbian national pride just in time for this year’s largest sports competition. What were the motivation and the idea behind this project?

Jovana Mladenović:What motivated us was the fact that national pride was quite low in Serbia and we, as a national brand, wanted to do something to change that. Our research confirmed our assumptions, which can be summed up in the following way: firstly, national pride is weighed down by different factors, but mostly events that have taken place over the past 25 years; and secondly, many people associate national pride with the current socio-economic situation. When an insufficient understanding of the concept of national pride is added to that, it is not surprising that national pride needs to be awakened. In reality, between the two small but prominent extremes lies a large, silent and quite confused majority. Therefore, we’ve come to the conclusion that we, as a society, lack a healthy sense of national pride – unambiguously positive and natural – to connect, unify and guide a small, but heterogeneous nation. Although national pride is not a substitute for personal well-being, it serves as a healthy foundation for a prosperous society. There is a lot of truth in the saying “National pride is for a nation what self-confidence is for an individual” – it is necessary for progress. Finally, national pride should be universal and inclusive, fostering respect and accepting differences, given that just as we love and respect our country and nation, it is normal for others to do the same. In short, national pride needs to be redefined.

In that sense, the World Cup served as the perfect context – the greatest event,in the framework of which, our country competes with the best in the most important side issue of the world. Sports events seem to be the only context in which our national pride is awakened, which makes them a good starting point for a discussion on that topic.

In comparison to other countries in the region and in Europe, the level of true support for Serbia’s national team is extremely low. What led to this?

Marko Simić: With the exception of football, our country has been European, world or Olympic champion in nearly every team sport, and every victory was noted and celebrated in a grand way. Remember waking up in the middle of the night, cafés and squares filled to the brim, athletes treated as national heroes...? So, I would somewhat disagree with your statement. More accurately, when our athletes are successful, we support them and certainly claim their success as our own. Given that football is the most popular sport and at the same time the one area we’ve never experienced a major success in, which has led to disappointment, sometimes even accompanied by humiliation, it comes as no surprise that the spirit of support is not very prominent. There are many reasons –related, as well as unrelated to football – why football, unlike other sports, has never managed to rise above the general social situation. Dare I say, we deserved the football we had. Now, for the first time in a long time, there is a healthier foundation and the hope that we will be at least as successful as each of our players.

We, the people standing behind the LAV brand, believe that true fans should always give their full support. There’s always time for analysis and assessment, but in times like these, when it really matters, we should all stand beneath the same flag and support our team. Unity – that’s what we have always lacked.

Have we, as a nation, forgotten that there is much to be proud of?

Veljko Ilić: Definitely. This is a consequence of what Jovana and Marko have already mentioned – if we do not value and respect ourselves, we will not be able to value and protect what is common, collective or national either. The worst thing is that we do not only fail to take care of what we have, but also undermine it. Serbia is a country with a long and rich history and tradition that has plenty to be proud of – not to mention all the Serbian artists, scientists, athletes, heroes...

This attitude is reflected in the way we treat our flag – the flag is in a poor condition at almost every other institution. There is a belief that the public display of a flag is related to nationalism and support of whatever government is in power at the time. The flag symbolizes pride – what we have been and what we are now. We must not allow our pride to be stolen by those who act in the name of pride – and dare I say, misuse it – because pride does not belong to them alone, but to all of us. After all, when we know what pride is, be sure that we will be able to recognize what it is not. We owe that to our ancestors and our children.

That’s what we wanted to put into motion with our campaign “Podrška od lavova” (“Supported by Lions”). Its success is reflected in the fact that we have given away 150,000 fans’ flags, which are basically stylized national flags, as part of the campaign under the slogan “Be proud. Take the flag and cheer like a lion.“ If we had three times the numberof flags, they would have been given away as well. During the World Cup, many of them have been put on balconies, windows, porches, fences, roofs, cars, etc.

When we think of football fans today, what comes to mind is usually violence, fights, malversation...Why is that so?

Veljko Ilić: It seems that not much has changed since I started going to matches myself as a kid almost 25 years ago, which is quite discouraging. There is still a chance that something bad may happen to you – inside or outside of the stadium – just because you support a rival club. However, the leaders of football fans nowadays usually end up in the criminal column for things that have nothing to do with football hooliganism, but something much worse. It is the same when it comes to malversation, which has become more prominent in the Digital Age. It seems that the majority is still not eager to resolve this, neither at the most important and influential national level, nor on the part of football fans blinded by excessive loyalty to their club. These fans will, without hesitation, justify obvious favoring, and the arrangement of things to their own advantage – the only goal being that their team wins, gets the title, outperforms the other...It is obvious that we are lacking a fan culture – congratulating the opponent if he is better, applauding the anthem of others, or at least appreciating when someone makes a mistake in your favor.

Nevertheless, things seem to change slowly but surely, and we might soon, with the help of a systematic and determined step taken by the government, experience that the issues tainting fan culture become a thing of the past. It is high time for that.

LAV created a new, powerful, emotional and patrioticanthem for football fans. What is the objective of this anthem?

Marko Simić: In the course of our campaign planning, during the first brainstorming sessions, we realized that we would have to offer something that becomes an essential part of the fans’ repertoire, if we really wanted to unite our two goals – raise national pride and support our athletes – and we offered a fan anthem. Observing the situation at games of national representatives, you realize that, whatever sport we are talking about, there actually does not exist a song repeatedly supporting the representation of Serbia and being appreciated and recognized as such. Clubs have their own songs which were originally created with that objective, but they are not used at matches of the Serbian team. Motivated by this state of affairs and being borne by the desire to finally offer an appropriate fan song, not only for football fans, but for all sports fans of our country and the ones enjoying the euphoria of various international and European sports competitions, we decided to compose a fan anthem that would, through its lyrics, melody and atmosphere, evoke passionate and energetic cheering for the national team, every time, whenever we get carried away by the love forour national representation, no matter what the sport.

Lav brought off the 360 campaign. What exactly is the idea of the campaign and via which channels are you communicating it to consumers?

Jovana Mladenović: The population that is addressed by such a broad and far-reaching campaign is highly diverse and it is necessary to include as many channels as possible in order to reach the greatest number of consumers possible. Not all channels affect consumers to the same degree. Someone perceives a message as more emotional and convincing on a billboard or as newspaper text, while others get a stronger impression from a TV spot. On the other hand, it is not only about consumers receiving a message from several directions, but also about consumers who are not using or noticing some of the communication channels at all. Taking all these factors into consideration, a true 360 campaign is a condition sine qua non of quality targeting of all target groups.

At the same time, it is the great challenge of a campaign being based on emotions to adjust the message to different communication channels and at the same time keep the delivery of the message convincing and emotional.

Putting aside false modesty, I believe that we have managed to meet this challenge in a high quality manner, using all communication channels we deemed relevant for a campaign of this caliber. We presented our fan anthem in the show “Veče sa Ivanom Ivanovićem” (An Evening with Ivan Ivanović), in which one of the guests was Nenad Jezdić, our brand ambassador. Afterwards, we positioned ourselves inTV and radio spots, distributed 150 thousand fan flags via BTL activities in 2,500 sales locationsand, thanks to our media partnership with Blic, created a LAV football fan album together with almost 2,000 football fans, which we presented in the show “24 minuta sa Zoranom Kesićem” (24 minutes with Zoran Kesić). The campaign was also accompanied by adverts, PR and native texts in the printed and digital media; the whole of Serbia was covered in our billboards and, naturally, all of these activities received the indispensable daily support of our social network channels.

What do football fans, i.e. consumers get for free, when they buy your beer in shops throughout the country?

Veljko Ilić: The leitmotiv, so to speak, of the whole campaign was the fan flag. Thus, it is the main giftfor all football fans purchasing our beer. As Jovana already mentioned, over 150,000 flags have been distributed to 2,500 sales locations, but as our market is much larger, we did our best to organize various other sales promotions throughout all sales channels. In that way, we will please our consumers during the championship with appropriate giftsin over 100 locations, where the games are watched and, additionally, we initializeda cooperation with some of the largest chain stores in Serbia. I can only say that during the World Cup, we will be there for all fans of beer and sports – not only with our hearts.

You have created the largest digital album of Serbian football fans, which around 20 famous people contributed to and over 1,500 people were photographed for. Tell us more about the digital LAV album.

Marko Simić: Albums are one of the most valuable and beautiful sports records that are often saved for years and sometimes even centuries after putting the content together. Besides representing a memory for future generations, their content,rich in valuable information, makes them a witness to a certain era as well. These albums always feature popular athletes being celebrities at the same time. Nevertheless, their fame, as well as the sport itself, would not make any sense and would not be the same, if not for the fans, the ones that go through all the victories and defeats with their favorite team with the same intensity, and often even with more emotion and passion than the team itself. That is the reason why we decided to make a fan album that will remain as a permanent souvenir of love towards the national team. As opposed to an album with pictures of football players, in this online digital album, every single one of us could uploadtheir picture, thus contributing to a unique historical project, in which we gathered almost two thousand of the most loyal football fans in one place. All of them will one day, in ten or twenty years, be able to open this digital album and remember all the events and feelings that characterized the football summer of 2018.

After being printed, the LAV football fanalbum will be giftedto the Museum of Modern Arts.