Xbox ad translates Champions League match into game commands

Indecipherable hieroglyphs to some, sacred scrolls to others: Xbox commands and football are languages that so many are passionately fluent in, and which utterly baffle so many others.

McCann London, Xbox Champion’s League match report

Uniting them both in what’s possibly the ultimate footie/gamer in-joke is a clever little creative campaign for Xbox One from McCann London.

The agency created a match report for the London Evening Standard’s sports section detailing last week’s Champions League match, in which Juventus beat Real Madrid 3 – 1, in a rather unique way. The usual reportage style was eschewed for a strange combination of letters, symbols and numbers – in other words, Xbox commands – which allow readers to recreate the game’s highlights from the comfort of their home turf armchair.

The text saw the players’ moves translated into the corresponding console commands (for instance, a shot is Bs, a pass is As, etc.), “helping [football fans] to become better at the game,” according to McCann London.

“We saw a unique opportunity to take advantage of the buzz from this gigantic match and turn it into a lesson for all football fans and gamers out there,” says Laurence Thomson, co-president and chief creative officer at McCann London.

McCann London, Xbox Champion’s League match report

It’s certainly a cute idea, and an innovative way of combining timely sports news into evergreen gaming tips. But the decision to run the campaign solely in print seems to be an odd one: is a London-based free newspaper likely to chime most successfully with the majority of Xbox users? It seems daft not to promote such a clever campaign online too, surely where most of these gamer types lurk.

The match report, however, is only one part of a wider campaign from McCann, “Xbox One and Football. A beautiful combination.” Previous projects within that field have included films for social such as a dramatic short directed by Omri Cohen through Somesuch starring Real Madrid players, their moves, and the corresponding Xbox buttons, and real-time social media activity that translated football highlights into console combinations.



Milton Keynes