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Embracing confidence with help from a football superstar.


Head & Shoulders came to us with the chance to spend 45 minutes with football hero Lionel Messi in a way that would showcase this well-known shampoo. So how could we use this small window of opportunity for an idea that would resonate with football fans around the world?


Dandruff is more than a physical condition. It affects people’s confidence in all kinds of ways. They may lack the confidence to join in social gatherings, or wear certain clothes. Simple things like a hug can be awkward and even stressful.

On the other hand, people who use Head & Shoulders are able to overcome this problem. They also tend not to take themselves too seriously and enjoy the social camaraderie of being with their mates - especially when it comes to enjoying a good day out watching the match.


We won a creative shoot-out between 20 agencies with an idea that involved down-to-earth fun, while respecting some strict contractual constraints. Our solution was to demonstrate how H&S gives dandruff sufferers enough confidence to enjoy one thing they usually fear – a big HUG. It plays in any culture, and is also a natural part of any goal celebration.


We created an H&S branded box and asked football fans to show they have the confidence to hug who or whatever came out of it. There was everything from mariachi players to a medieval knight. And then, for some lucky fans, there was Messi himself. The whole event was captured on film and edited into a short movie to seed online.

FROM 45 to 15 Minutes

Because of delays in Messi’s schedule, our time with the footballer was reduced to only 15 minutes. With slick management however, the team still delivered the full experience.

Crowd control

Lucky participants had to be kept separate after their one-to-one with Messi in order not to spoil the surprise for others. Not easy in the small area set aside for us, but the crew pulled it off perfectly.


Messi had exclusive rights to show the video for one day on his own Facebook page. On the first day, it received 100,000 views. To date, there have been 2 million more. The positive sentiment and messaging came through loud and clear, for example 'OMG! I would LOVE to HUG MESSI!'

"Opportunities like this only appear occasionally and we grabbed it with both hands. Our idea was simple but spot on brief, and we brought it to life in record time. The results, which speak for themselves, really put the icing on the cake." Craig Stuart Executive Creative Director