StarHub and DDB salute the 12th man in LionsXII

April 30, 2014

Most advertisers are content to spend money to back a sporting team in order to get branding space or presence on the team’s jerseys.

Not StarHub. They started on a remarkable journey to back the nation’s favourite football team simply to support the fan’s passion. To that, they have now added an even more remarkable story how they went from logo placements to create meaningful relationships with fans.

StarHub has been the team and jersey sponsor of the biggest football club in Singapore for the last four years, The LionsXII, a name that represents the 12th man on the team – the fan.

This year, StarHub wanted to make a public statement of their passion to stand with, and for, the supporters of the LionsXII and Singaporean football lovers.


The greatness of a sponsorship brand is measured by its passion to give back to fans what they gave to the team. That’s simply because while sponsors invest money, fans invest everything: time, money, effort, passion and emotion. Fans possibly put in more than sponsors ever will.

In a remarkable twist to the 2013/2014 season, StarHub decided to put its money where its mouth is. By putting the fans where their money was: the sponsor’s name on the LionsXII jersey.

Supporting Fan

Together with the Football Association of Singapore, we identified the ultimate 12th man, Akbar Hashim, a lifelong supporter who has never missed a single LionsXII match and is the cornerstone of the LionsXII fan scene. To salute his undying passion, we switched out the StarHub brand on all the team jerseys and emblazoned them with his name. (And we did all that without Akbar knowing about it before the game began.)

The grand reveal took place before a capacity crowd at a LionsXII match on home ground.

Moments before kickoff, a surprise tribute film to Akbar’s undying passion for the LionsXII took over the stadium’s video screen as well as StarHub’s live broadcast of the match on SuperSports Arena.

On the pitch, LionsXII players removed their jackets to reveal Akbar’s name on their jerseys, to roaring applause. VIPs presented Akbar with his own framed jersey, autographed by the entire team and his unforgettable experience was immortalised in the pre-match team photo.

LionsXII Team

The entire experience was documented and will be shared across StarHub’s TV and digital channels as StarHub introduces a series of 3 other ‘money can’t buy’ experiences for die-hard fans in the coming months.

StarHub’s million-dollar question received a priceless answer through this ultimate fan tribute.

It showed that brands could build meaningful connections with sports fans not by brandishing their name, as sponsors tend to do, but by cheering alongside them as a true fan would. As Jeannie Ong, CMO of StarHub, puts it: “Fans wear their hearts on the sleeves. So, it is only rightful that we wear their names on our jerseys.”

Sometimes, it’s amazing what you get when you give. It’s the difference between the truly remarkable and mere reeds.

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