EVERY GAME OF FIFA IS A CHANCE TO HAVE A PROPER CONVERSATION

11th May 2020

 

Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, the charity Football Beyond Borders is launching an initiative that pairs young people with professional footballers and mental health practitioners over a game of Fifa.

 

It aims to help teens who may struggle to express what they’re going through during the pandemic, and draws on distraction theory, which shows that when partially distracted they are able to have more sincere and meaningful conversations. The campaign launches with a film starring footballer Cyrus Christie playing two young people, Freddie and Bland, at Fifa. During the games they open up about football, mental health and the lockdown. Christie himself has previously spoken candidly about his own issues with mental health. The work was created by Dark Horses and directed by Tom Day through Insider by Outsider.

 

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NAVIGATING THE NEW NORMAL

2nd April 2020

 

These are unprecedented and uncertain times, so how can the industry better come together to navigate the new normal? Dan explores this for Creativebrief alongside some of the industry's experts.

 

Read more HERE.

BUSTING THE MYTH OF PERSONALISATION VS MASS MARKET CREATIVITY FOR BITE

25th March 2020

 

n this age of data powered hyper-personalisation, have marketers over-estimated its impact and overlooked the power of mass-market creativity or can it make a comeback? That is the theme Mark explores alongside some of the industry's experts.

 

Read more HERE.

Dark Horses helps launch the NHS Charities Together Cup

29th April 2020

 

Dark Horses helps launch the NHS Charities Together Cup, a celebrity FIFA tournament designed to raise funds for the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal

 

The competition features stars from the worlds of entertainment, film and comedy, including Erin Cuthbert, Ben Stokes, Chris Kamara, Joe Root and Paddy McGuinness

 

Created and backed by a collective of brands (Lynx and BP), media companies (Reach PLC) and broadcasters (ITV) the tournament was a knockout FIFA ‘20 competition featuring eight teams, each comprising three celebs, with a public vote deciding which member represents them in a live-streamed one-on-one match.

 

 

Sports creative agency Dark Horses created all the supporting content in just six days from being briefed. The campaign’s first wave began with a touching and charming launch film which shows families going through their pre-match routine - just like they would a real Cup Final. All based from their homes this includes creating their own shirts (with names such as NHS United or FC NHS), dusting down their TV’s, setting up their couches and warming up their fingers.  The film was produced through Homestudio @ MindsEye.

 

https://twitter.com/celebesports_/status/1253311236307066881?s=20

 

https://www.facebook.com/celebrityesports/videos/612223362841089/

 

 

The film was produced in just four days by a group of directors working simultaneously from their homes. The film will be shared across all major partners’ owned channels and launch on Wednesday 22nd April.

 

 

 

Dark Horses also created content for every celebrity and team for them to launch on their social channels prior to their games to drive interest as the tournament progressed.

WHAT MAKES A MODERN DAY FOOTBALL CLUB A BRAND?

23rd March 2020

 

Football may not be in full swing right now, but the brand is still live. Steve sat down with LBB to talk about the challenges of standing out among the crowd with our work for Chelsea FC.

 

Read more HERE.

SPORTS MARKETERS CONTEMPLATE EXISTENTIAL THREAT OF THE PANDEMIC ON THE SPORTS INDUSTRY

19th March 2020

 

The Champions League, the Euros and the F1 season are just a few of the sports that have been postponed due to Covid-19. So what does Sports Marketing look like without sports? Simon shared his thoughts with the Drum.

 

Read more HERE.

Dark Horses filmmaker, whose wife works for the NHS, creates emotional fundraising film at home starring his own family

29th April 2020

 

In the next stage of its campaign to promote the NHS Charities Cup the Dark Horses filmmaker Rob Sanderson created a beautiful and emotional fundraising film.

 

 

Shot entirely in his own home following lockdown guidelines, it stars his son Fin and wife  Holly, who works for the NHS.

 

 

Backed by a beautiful song the film shows Holly putting on her cycling gear and heading out to work. While she is at her shift, Fin spends the day creating football shirts to wear together while watching the tournament. It ends with him presenting her the shirt as she gets home, before hugging her.

 

 

It then shows the audience that they can donate £5 by texting UNITE5 to 7045 or £10 by texting UNITE10 to 70456.

 

 

Rob Sanderson, Filmmaker at Dark Horses, said: “Our morning routine is Holly cycling to work at the crack of dawn and Fin getting up to see her off. Then we’d usually start the homeschooling schedule. This time, though, we made shirts and waited for it to get dark.”

 

“We really liked the idea of putting all the energy people would usually spend supporting their football teams, into supporting the NHS. This inevitably means that you’ll need a shirt, and with the kids at home and the population rediscovering their handicraft skills, making your own seemed to be a great way to support the cup.”

 

The NHS Charities Together Cup, an ambitious FIFA tournament between a star-studded line-up of household names to raise funds for the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal.

 

 

Sporting superstars who have signed up include John Terry, Ben Stokes, Dillian Whyte, Tony Bellew, Leah Williamson and Jonny Brownlee, who will take on the likes of showbiz favourites Chris and Kem and a host of other celebrities.

NEW BUSINESS IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS

20th April 2020

 

A thought piece from Dan on how CoVid-19 has changed everything and nothing when it comes to new business.

 

Read more HERE.

RIPPING UP THE RULEBOOK

15th April 2020

 

As advertisers grapple with a new reality for 2020, it's having a knock-on effect for agencies. Dan shares his views with The Drum on how it's impacted the world of new business.

 

Read more HERE.

DARK HORSES PARTNER WITH WOMEN’S SPORT TRUST TO UNLOCK THE FUTURE OF WOMEN’S SPORT

JANUARY 25, 2020

 

At the start of the year, we joined forces with Women’s Sports Trust (WST) to launch their new programme: Unlocked, powering female athletes to unlock the future of women’s sport.

 

Women’s Sports Trust is a leading UK charity that aims to raise the visibility and increase the impact of women’s sport to accelerate gender equality and stimulate social change. Their latest campaign, Unlocked, will see 40 elite athletes across 24 sports paired with 40 ‘activators’ consisting of leading figures from business, sport and media to shape the future of women’s sport. During the campaign the athletes will be provided with coaching to make them even more effective influencers and ambassadors, tackling everything from commercial insights to social media skills with support from WST and the activators.

 

With campaign objectives linked to profile and influence, our challenge was to create a memorable and unique campaign identity and supporting assets that would help elevate the noise and energy required to drive women’s sport to the next level, with the athletes being the face and driving force behind the campaign.

 

Nicky Russell, Chief Operating Officer said: “We’re honoured to partner with the Women’s Sport Trust on the Unlocked campaign tackling such an important societal issue.”

 

Read more HERE

GREENHOUSE SPORTS APPOINT DARK HORSES

NOVEMBER 12, 2019

 

‘Greenhouse Sports, a sport-for-development charity, has appointed Dark Horses to work on an awareness and fundraising campaign.

 

The London-based charity uses sport to engage young people and improve their life chances. Founded in 2002, the charity now manages 50 sports coaching and mentoring programmes a year working with nearly 8,000 children in schools in disadvantaged areas of London. Participation in their projects has been proven to have a positive impact on educational attainment, attendance and behaviour.

 

With a challenge to build on this success and further grow awareness and engagement amongst a wider audience, Dark Horses will be responsible for developing a new brand campaign which will launch later this year.

 

Dark Horses last worked with a charity in the summer of 2016 helping to launch the Common Goal initiative alongside Juan Mata, which has gone on to raise over €800,000 in 18 months.

 

Simon Dent, founder of Dark Horses said: “We’re really excited to work with a local charity that is using the power of sport to do such great things for youth development.”

 

Ben Wyatt of Greenhouse Sports said: “Greenhouse Sports is delighted to engage the creative talent and energy of the Dark Horses team to support efforts to raise our profile and funds for the many young people living in disadvantaged areas of London. A young, agile agency with a purposeful culture, Dark Horses connected with our mission immediately and understand how sport for development can be transformational. We look forward to working together and launching a campaign later this year.”

SIMON TALKS TO THE DRUM ABOUT OUR INDUSTRY'S NEGLECT OF MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

AUGUST 15, 2019

 

‘As an industry we put time and effort into putting out campaigns but are way behind the curve in fixing ourselves, which means we are playing a dangerous game.

 

Tackling mental health in society, whether you’re an agency or a client, is like tackling your own mental health. It’s not something you can take your eye off, it’s not a quick fix. Your mental health campaign needs long-term care, attention and investment.

 

And to do this properly we need to understand our own issues. Spend our own time, as an industry, in our own day hospital, if you will, learning basic skills such as listening, self-awareness and learning strategies to look after our own mental health while reassessing who we are as an industry.’

 

Read more HERE

SIMON TALKS ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITIES BRANDS MISSED AT THE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP

JULY 11, 2019

 

‘After initial worries about empty grounds, attendances blossomed while outside of the stadia, 11.7 million people in the UK tuned in to watch England play USA, 4.7 million watched the final on the BBC and Fifa (claims it) achieved its target of getting 1 billion people to watch across devices.So why can’t I shake the niggling feeling that brands haven’t made enough of it? Why does it feel like there were a lot of opportunities, like penalties, missed?’

 

Read more HERE

shortlisted for the Sport Industry Awards Young Agency of the Year

FEBRUARY 21, 2020

 

Very proud to have been shortlisted for the Sport Industry Awards Young Agency of the Year for the second year running alongside some strong competition.

 

Read more HERE.

DARK HORSES RECOGNISED AS THE 5TH FASTEST GROWING AGENCY GLOBALLY

SEPTEMBER 25, 2019

 

‘It’s not easy being an ad agency these days. Changing models, consultancies, procurement, performance-based marketing, in-housing, project work versus agency of record. And yet, Adweek’s inaugural Fastest Growing Agencies list proves that it’s still possible to not only rise to these challenges but to succeed wildly.

 

On average, the first class of Fastest Growing Agencies saw an average growth of over 300%. While revenue numbers may be different for each, 85 of the top 100 sat between $10 million and $50 million, and 23 had revenue of over $50 million, with several clocking in at nine figures.

 

Remarkably, this collection of 100 agencies from around the globe accounted for 21 specific disciplines and categories—in our searchable list online—ranging from full service to experiential, b-to-b and ecommerce, direct marketing to influencers and everywhere in between.’

 

Read more HERE

DARK HORSES WINS INDEPENDENT AGENCY OF THE YEAR AWARD

JULY 17, 2019

 

‘Creative brilliance from across the capital was championed last night at the inaugural Prolific London Awards in Marble Arch.

 

A packed ballroom at the Montcalm Hotel saw a total of 23 categories awarded to a variety of deserving winners from the creative and media industries.

 

BBC TV and radio presenter Will Perry was at the helm for a ceremony that came just six months after the launch of Prolific London.’

 

Read more HERE

MARK LLOYD EXPLAINS HOW TO LAUNCH A NEW VERSION OF AN OLD SPORT

JULY 17, 2019

 

‘Technology, time and attention spans affect all sports and even the oldest have to be modernised and updated. However, taking a much-loved sport and finding a new audience is no mean feat. Just ask Vince McMahon, whose hugely expensive XFL disappeared after one season.’

 

Read more HERE

STAYING INSPIRED DURING THE LOCKDOWN

20th March 2020

 

Campaign looked at what the industry's creatives are doing to stay inspired during the lockdown. Steve shared his view.

 

Read more HERE.

THE UNOFFICIAL PARTNER PODCAST

17th March 2020

 

There’s no point pretending we can get away with business as usual, so The Unofficial Podcast have put their regular podcasts to one side to focus on the only issue of the moment: what’s happening to the sports business during the coronavirus pandemic? Simon shared his thoughts alongside some industry leaders.

 

Read more HERE.

SIMON TALKS TO CAMPAIGN ABOUT THE CHANGE IN HOW FOOTBALL CLUBS MARKET THEMSELVES

SEPTEMBER 25, 2019

 

"The penny finally dropped with clubs that they live in this global village and these countries that have bought into the Premier League over the last 20 years have now started supporting clubs. There’s a huge land grab at the moment, and in the summer, the top clubs tour Asia, India, China or the US trying to establish a foothold. Then when they can’t physically be there, they have to serve content to those countries, and [it’s about] how they serve it, how exciting and engaging it is, is how they build their brands in those territories."

 

Read more HERE

HOW SPORTS BRANDS ARE TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH

JULY 11, 2019

 

‘Whether you agree with Jose Mourinho and count the Community Shield as a proper trophy, or just love it because it signals the return of weekly footie, this year’s season opener will be more of a special one than usual.’

 

Read more HERE

DARK HORSES HELP LAUNCH THE FA'S HEADS UP CAMPAIGN

MAY 21, 2019

 

Dark Horses has helped the Football Association launch  "Heads Up", an initiative using the influence of football to inspire the biggest ever conversation about mental health.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/48278719

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/fa-heads-up-dark-horses-fuse/1584829

https://www.royal.uk/duke-cambridge-and-fa-launch-heads-mental-health-campaign

http://www.thefa.com/news/2019/may/15/heads-up-launch-fc-not-alone-matthew-legg-150519

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