Kasabian / Umbro

Football Hero

A three story high guitar game played with footballs.

The brief

Excite football and gaming fans with a piece of shareable content based around single Underdog.

Background info

  • West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum was released in June 2009, entering the chart at number 1. By September initial marketing activity had slowed, and Columbia wanted give the album a boost around the release of 3rd single Underdog.
  • British sports brand Umbro agreed to partner with us on the campaign, providing a budget contribution and some awesome custom Kasabian shirts.

The insight

The label wanted to reach an audience of guys in their twenties and thirties who have busy work lives and active lifestyles. Sport plays an important role as it gives them a release from the stresses and strains of work. They’re big football fans, and they also enjoying gaming at home with their mates. We decided to combine these two passions into one epic idea.

The big idea

We created a giant three story high Guitar Hero style game which could be played with footballs. Kasabian are synonymous with football in the UK, and Underdog had already featured on the Sony Bravia ad featuring Brazil and AC Milan superstar Kaka.

The execution

Building the game

The game was constructed in a warehouse in West London, and a talented young team of freestyle footballers were drafted in to play.

Building the game at a West London warehouse. The footballers getting ready to practice.

The game was powered by the open source Guitar Hero clone Frets On Fire, and we used two enormous projectors to create a three story high image on the side of the warehouse wall.

The Frets on Fire score screen.

The coloured buttons on the typical guitar controller were replaced by five huge pressure sensitive pads which were carefully positioned on the wall in order to line up with the game’s descending notes.

Creating the big coloured control pads.

Practice & filming

The footballers had to try to hit the pads in time with the music in order to play the Kasabian track Underdog.

A close up of a footballer kicking the ball towards one of the control pads.

The players found the game pretty tough at first, but they gradually got into the rhythm of things, and by the end of the day were racking up some respectable scores. The game itself proved to be really addictive, and in between practice sessions and takes the entire crew was playing.

Sharing the story

We created the film (above) of the footballers learning to play the game, and also a short behind the scenes documentary (below) which told the story of how we created the game from a more detailed technical perspective. We uploaded the two films to Kasabian’s YouTube channel and started contacting some blogs and press to tell them about the story.

The results

DIY tech mag Make Magazine and UK Men’s mag Nuts started the ball rolling in terms of coverage, and the story spread naturally from there into more of our target audience’s channels without any need for explicit PR activity.

We had over 1.5 million YouTube views on the main film. We achieved natural news coverage which spread organically across many of the channels that we know our target audience consume, particularly in the areas of football, music, gaming and men’s lifestyle. We also saw a huge amount of direct viral sharing on the main video, with 16% of the overall traffic to the video coming from shared media sources such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

Media highlights

  • Wired UK
  • Engadget
  • Gizmodo
  • Geek.com
  • Hack A Day
  • Crunch Gear
  • Make Blog
  • College Humor
  • Nuts Magazine
  • Asylum
  • Guardian Sport Blog
  • Unprofessional Foul
  • Soccer Bible
  • Joystiq
  • Destructoid
  • Kotaku


  • Winner of Advertising Campaign category at Media Guardian Innovation Awards
  • D&AD – Wood Pencil – Digital Advertising – 2010
  • London International Awards – Digital – Silver – 2010


Columbia Records
Marketing Manager
Lee Jenson
Creative Directors
Phil Clandillon & Steve Milbourne
Simon Poon Tip
Production Company
PTE Media