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You may be aware that NFL games are occasionally played in London, but apart from the time change leading to some pretty early tailgating here in the US, there’s “massive interest” in the NFL in Europe, according to Tom Jackson, account director for MacroArt Ltd (Cambridgeshire, England). With the NFL having started playing games in London in 2007, local fan bases have grown, including a major contingent in Germany.
So, when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs were set to play the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany on Nov. 5, “a big statement piece” as Jackson called it, sailed in to announce far and wide, “the champs are here.” Thus, the Kansas City Chiefs ChampionShip was christened — with incredible wrap graphics.
The Chiefs commissioned a nearly 280-ft.-long yacht based in Arnhem, Netherlands, to be wrapped then sent to Frankfurt where it would serve as a major showpiece, as well as a gathering spot for VIPs during the week leading up to and the game itself. As Super Bowl champs, the Chiefs were well acquainted with bluemedia (Tempe, AZ), which has been ‘super’ involved in NFL and Super Bowl branding for years. Their EVP and partner RJ Orr worked as a consultant to connect the Chiefs to MacroArt and the Frankfurt office of Brands and Emotions (Munich). Orr continued to provide help all along the way, says Jackson, the account director for this project.
Earlier last year, after the idea was proposed, MacroArt sent a team to view and survey the yacht in Arnhem. The Chiefs designed all the graphics, which had to be tweaked post-survey to fit particular aspects of the ship’s features. As the game drew nearer, “there was no window of opportunity to get it wrong,” Jackson says.
MacroArt printed and prepared an excess of 17,200 sq. ft. of printed and colored vinyl to be installed, the bulk of which they printed on Mactac JT 10700 WG-BFG Wrapping Film and protected with Drytac Protac Anti-Scratch Matte overlaminating film. Pre-colored Mactac vinyl in red, sunflower yellow and gold, as well as cut Metamark M7 Series white vinyl to match the Chiefs branding were used as a base, with the printed graphics laid over top.
All vinyl was installed by MacroArt and local labor in Arnhem. About a dozen installers worked tirelessly over three days, two of which saw torrential rain. “We had to park the boat under a bridge to make sure we could get the job done,” Jackson says. Though they did “an amazing job,” he adds, they were unable to arrange the 15 flags that MacroArt produced for the top of the boat, due to high winds and so the flags wouldn’t clip any bridges on the way out of Arnhem. Once in Frankfurt, the yacht crew had to install the flags to get the final graphics ship shape.
The ChampionShip was well received, Jackson reports, in large part due to the care and attention to detail put in during the survey. “The devil is in the detail,” Jackson says. “The more meticulous detail you have, the better chance to get it right.” Lots of late-night calls going through surveys, checking artwork paid off, he adds.
The ship also served as something of a talisman for the Chiefs, who defeated the Dolphins 21-14 in Frankfurt, perhaps on their way to a second straight championship. We’ll know soon.