THE TWELFTH MAN:
Toronto FC have had some serious ups and downs over the last few years. From breaking a playoff drought to become MLS Cup finalists (and later winners) to losing their best player and playoff spot the very next season. While a playoff appearance has kept some fans optimistic, retention is waning, and fans on social media are quick to claim the club does not care for its fans or its performance, just about its bottom line. Help show these fans that Toronto FC is a club made not just for, but by its supporter base.
Every soccer team has 11 players on the field. But there is a term from the United Kingdom that can be used well here, that of the "12th man", AKA the fans. While different teams have shown their support for the 12th man in different ways, no club in North America has ever made an effort to directly include their 12th man on the team itself.
Actually offer to sign the fans as players, as a n°12 made of thousands of Torontonians and beyond. Put up a contract stipulating a signing as a player on the club, with responsibilities including cheering as loudly as they can for Toronto FC at highs and lows, with payment of the best efforts of the team, and maybe as a bonus for good performance another MLS cup in the 416.
The contract, in full. It is made clear to not be legally-binding nor require any actual payment from either party.
Early posters act as "recruitment", leading viewers to a microsite where they can sign the contract online.
Cinema/TVC spots also act as encouragement to direct to the microsite.
Visitors to the microsite can sign the contract online and view a list of the newest signings. Digital rewards for signing the contract include social media profile templates with jerseys, phone wallpapers, and desktop wallpapers.
Fans who sign the contract at special stands in game or at event locations in the city can have custom "jerseys" printed on cotton shirts featuring their name on the back, and the number 12 as their player number.
Season ticket holders will receive a custom jersey with their name and the number 12 on it as part of their ticket package.
At the end of the 2020 season, the number 12 will be retired and added to the BMO Field Wall of Honour to ensure that the only players to wear the number 12 for Toronto FC will be the 12th man, the fans.
The campaign closes with TFC making media claims regarding the "player" status of their new "signings" to create quirky free media in local and sports press.