Metro International


Metro, the world’s biggest newspaper, with readers spread across the world, wanted to engage their readership during the summer of 2014, when the World Cup arrived on the shores of Brazil. But they knew their modern and vibrant readership wouldn’t be interested in the usual, corporate, straight-down-the-line promotion. So they asked Futureproof to help.

The challenge was to create a fun digital experience that users could enjoy, but to use it to directly encourage readership of the newspaper, whether online or offline.

From our understanding of Metro’s readership, we worked from the premise that they are the kind of young, savvy metropolitans that see through the shiny veneer of the corporate football establishment, and are bored of the clean-cut messages they are fed. We wanted to make sure the appeal of the game extended beyond core sports fans.

We realised that there was something unique we could produce – a game where the idea of being “bad footballer’ was at the heart, rather than all the glamour and polish that you’re meant to see. So we created The Offside Game, an experience where you can take control of the off-field antics of an international footballer.

Users can customise their avatar with ear-rings and tattoos, and using codes found in Metro’s paper and digital versions, could unlock scenarios that their character found himself in. A jealous ex-girlfriend has leaked X-rated photos to the press. A player has run up a huge bar bill (and made their manager very angry). The aim of the game was to get dirty, rich and famous and become the most notorious player the world has ever seen!

The Offside Game was launched in Chile, Colombia, Russia, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Peru. The game’s success was measured on continued engagement and returning users, and has beaten its target for participation by 25% and for engagement by 50%.