This is my favorite project I've ever worked on. Even though designing it only took a weekend, and building the mechanical took five minutes, this billboard has arguably had a bigger impact than all of my other work combined, because it ignited a conversation both at the national level in the birthplace of soccer, and around the world. This is the true story of the Welcome to Manchester billboard.
 The chap in the billboard is  Carlos Tevez . Before the start of the 2009 English Premier League season — before this billboard was even a twinkle in a creative director's eye — Tevez was one of the most prominent players in the English city of Manchester. Except he didn't play for Manchester City FC — he played for the global behemoth of a soccer club, Manchester United, which at the time was the far more successful of the two clubs, even if its grounds aren't even technically located in the city of Manchester. In the summer of 2009, United was under considerable pressure to sign Tevez to a long-term contract since he'd been on loan to United up until then. But they didn't. Their crosstown rivals MCFC did instead.  To celebrate, we created this billboard over the weekend and immediately put it up at the top of Deansgate, a busy shopping area in the Manchester city center. "Welcome to Manchester," it read. What did that mean, exactly? Was it welcoming Tevez to the "real" Manchester? Was it supposed to be Tevez himself welcoming visitors to Manchester? Was it advertising the club or the city? Was it meant to taunt United fans, perhaps even the top brass at United who failed to sign Tevez? All of the above? We hoped everyone else would be asking the same questions.
 Happily, and perhaps predictably, City fans loved the billboard, and began converging on the spot to have their photos taken with it.
 Manchester United fans, on the other hand, were so riled up that they attempted to deface the billboard by hurling rolled up socks soaked in red paint at it (red being United's color). The effort was more detrimental to the sidewalk beneath than the billboard itself. And of course, the very act of defacing the billboard generated even more conversation.
 News first spread nationally across the UK, then internationally as sports news pages as far away as Singapore and Brazil began covering the reactions to the billboard. It certainly helped that the manager of United himself, Sir Alex Ferguson, responded directly to the billboard during a press conference, calling it  "stupid and arrogant" .
 Parodies were created first by fans, and then by legitimate entities like heavyweight boxer David Haye (top-left) who publicized his upcoming bout in Manchester with what was virtually a carbon copy of our billboard. And as recently as 2014, online betting firm Betfair ripped off our ad to welcome incoming United manager Louis Van Gaal (bottom-right), of all people.  It's impossible to quantify the media value generated by this single billboard. But a very conservative estimate puts it at £5million, over 100 times the production cost of the ad. That's a return on investment that anyone would welcome with open arms.
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