Carling Black Label Be The Coach

Carling Black Label, the lager brand, added new meaning to naming rights with the Carling Black Label Cup “Be The Coach” campaign run in South Africa in 2011, winning advertising awards for integration at the Clio Awards, One Show Interactive Awards, Virgin Active Sports Industry Awards, and the GSMA Global Mobile Marketing Awards. Football supporters in South Africa were invited to name the players for the cup final on the 30th July 2011, between the Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, and then follow up with choices for live substitution. Dutch football coach Ruud Gullit was brought in to garner support for the campaign. To pick the squad all users had to do was buy a Black Label lager and follow the instructions using USSD (unstructured supplementary service data), IVR (interactive voice recording) and SMS on their phones to vote for the team members and positions.

Carling Black Label Be The Coach

10.5 million votes for team selections were cast via USSD codes found under bottle caps on CBL beers in the seven weeks leading up to the game. Metrics on social media and online platforms showed triple digit growth. 85,000 fans attended the sell-out game and millions more watched on television and saw Orlando Pirates win it on penalties.

Click on the image below to play the Ogilvy Cape Town Case Study video in YouTube

Click on the image below to play the Be The Coach video in YouTube

Click on the image below to play the Live Substitution video in YouTube

The Carling Black Label “Be the Coach” campaign was centred online at, a Facebook page and mobile site,, providing consumers with news on teams and updates on votes.

Carling Black Label Be The Coach Facebook page

Carling Black Label Be The Coach Facebook ad

Carling Black Label Be The Coach Display ad

Carling Black Label Be The Coach Microsite

Carling Black Label Be The Coach Microsite

Carling Black Label Be The Coach Microsite


The Be The Coach campaign was developed at Ogilvy South Africa, Cape Town, by executive creative director Chris Gotz, creative director/art director Jonathan Lang, creative director/copywriter Tommy Le Roux, copywriters Yazeed Solomons and Logan Broadley, art directors Benjamin de Villiers and Delano Chengan, digital creative director Nicholas Wittenberg, agency producer Bronwyn Henry.

Mobile technology was produced at Brandtone.

Filming was shot by director Ian Chuter via Platypus Productions.

  • Origins of Inspiration Commentator

    It has been reported in the media that the concept for this event was presented to SAB by Boost Sports International in 2006. It is reported that the concept for this event as was interestingly also pitched to Kaiser Chiefs and the PSL around the same time amongst significant others. SAB however claim to have come up with the concept for the event themselves some years later. This dispute is now the subject of a court battle – watch this space.

  • Fabricius

    If true this will be interesting!Where did this brilliant inspiration for this world first sporting event really come from? Mabye one could ask Trevor Philips, Ronnie Schloss (I think they were the PSL leaders at the time) and Jessica (Kaiser Chiefs)? Surely they can confirm or deny that this company approached them and discussed this concept with them too? I have heard this chatter in my circles…apparently these guys had been working on this behind the scenes and had approached a number of companies to create the opportunty (including SAB) to use it with them…those in the know… know…I have heard that these guys were at Soccerex in Dubai and South Africa and their business was exclusivley this concept.
    I also heard that Boost have claimed that the Chiefs vs Pirates Option was pitched to SAB, Chiefs and the PSL as one of their proposed options…does anyone know if this case is still open?

  • Ad Guru

    @origins of inspiration commentator – Cool story, bro.

  • What is the code to vote?

  • bonginkosi

    this is a wonderful idea but i can’t say who come up with the idea first because we also heard this idea but it was for international teams (barcelona vs madrid) as for the south african teams it might have been switched around…all i can say nothing is new under the sun(thoughts travell)

    “fanta for fantastic fans” the theme of our idea