The Story Behind Croatia’s Award-Winning World Cup Promo Video by BBDO

Total Croatia News

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February 20, 2019 – It was the World Cup promotional video whose success mirrored Croatia’s heroics on the pitch. TCN finds the story behind the video with BBDO managing director, Luka Dubokovic. 

It was a football tournament which brought unprecedented interest in Croatia, as millions around the world willed on Croatia’s heroes in last summer’s World Cup. Reaching the final was an incredible achievement for the tiny country which dared to dream. 

There were many images of passionate Croatian fans in their distinctive red and white chequered shirts. And one great promotional video. 

Initially shot 9 months before the World Cup and including various Croatian celebrities, the video – the work of leading Zagreb agency BBDO – took on a life of its own with success on the pitch in Russia. 

TCN caught up with Luka Dubokovic, Managing Director of BBDO Zagreb, to learn a little more about the shooting of the video and coordinating of so many stars. 

1. Firstly, congratulations on the Croatia World Cup promo video. Tell us a little about the origins of the project.

The initiative came from the Croatian Ministry of Tourism, It was Mrs. Barbara Mesić who briefed us on the project. Basically, the idea was to include famous Croats to promote their country abroad. The fact is that our sportsmen are the most famous ones but we also included other famous Croats in the video, especially ones that are known in some of Croatia’s interesting tourist markets / countries.

Our idea then was that to use celebrities to promote different destinations and products and where possible to tie them with the destination they promote. For example, we shot Mario Manđukić in Slavonia where he is from. Or Dario Šarić in his hometown Šibenik, or Marin Čilić in his wife’s town Dubrovnik. We wanted to promote the whole country, not just the ‘obvious’ beauties but also tell a more in-depth story about Croatia and its offer. We wanted ‘Full of life’ to shine at its best in this video.

Also, we were aware that there we have only a couple of truly global celebrities (Modrić, Rakitić) but wanted to use other celebrities in the markets where they are famous. Maksim Mrvica is very famous in eastern Asia, Japan for sure. Zrinka Cvitešić in England, London, Marin Čilić and Dario Šarić in USA, Mario Manđukić in Germany and Italy and so on.

So the intention was to use the shorter versions of the video targeted in countries where they are known, which means we made several different takes on the video based on the target market we were promoting.

2. Getting so many stars involved must have been a challenge. Tell us about the logistics of that.  

That was a huge challenge, their schedules are very tight and we just had to work within the timeframes we got from each of them. This meant we had to be very flexible in the idea and execution but also in the team and production who will take care of the project. We worked almost as an ER squad: with some celebrities we got notifications not even 24 hours before we had to film them.

For example, we filmed Darion Šarić on 15th of August which is a big National Holiday and he just flew in from the States for that day. In total the production lasted for two months, that is how much time we needed to get all the people we wanted to film. 

3. If it is not a secret, what was the budget for the project?

The budget was published in the Croatian media – 700,000 kuna (about 90,000 euro).

4. What was the most challenging aspect of making this video?

There were three main challenges: 

a. Getting the celebrities to appear in the video.

b. How to incorporate celebrities in the idea of promoting Croatia.

c. Planning the production when you didn’t know until the very end who and when will you shoot

5. The video was obviously a very visible marketing tool for Croatian tourism after all the global attention. As a marketing expert, how do you think Croatia did taking advantage of this huge global interest in the country after success in Russia?

I think Croatia took advantage of the situation very well. We have to remember that the video was made in September 2017, 9 months before the World cup and it wasn’t all about football stars, so as soon as we saw Croatian team doing well in the WC, we prepared the football-only version of the video and released it. It looked as though it had been made only for that moment which was great. Also since the World Cup Final was on July 15th 2018 we believe that the true effect will be visible in 2019. During the last World Cup in Brazil there was a huge jump in the number of searches about Croatia on Google, even though the national team didn’t even do very well. With them reaching the final game this time, Google searches for Croatia must have been absolutely enormous.

BBDO Zagreb is an award-winning agency known for its innovative marketing, and not just in tourism. Their latest campaign for Croatian beet Ozujsko went viral in Croatia and the wider Slavic world. Check it out below, as well as the rest of their portfolio on the official BBDO website


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