Every season presents its challenges, but in 2011, we faced more than our usual share. The Niners had missed the playoffs nine consecutive years, and a lockout was looming. This meant we had no access to players for photography or commercial shoots. We couldn’t even use footage from previous seasons. What to do? How about we show some love to the fans (known locally as "the Faithful") by making them the heroes of our campaign?



First, we had to identify the most enthusiastic fans. We launched a social media and newspaper campaign asking, "what does Faithful mean to you?" The answers helped us identify the most promising talent.

There is no moment more glorious in a fan’s life than receiving the annual season ticket package. To launch our campaign, we emblazoned each ticket with the portrait of a different superfan.

Across the Bay Area, in television, print, outdoor and online, we featured fans with extreme cases of 49er mania.

To get more of the Faithful involved, we designed a site experience in which fans could create and share their own trading cards, utilizing styles from different eras in 49ers history. We supported it with display ads and page takeovers of local media.

  • Every season presents its challenges, but in 2011, we faced more than our usual share. The Niners had missed the playoffs nine consecutive years, and a lockout was looming. This meant we had no access to players for photography or commercial shoots. We couldn't even use footage from previous seasons. What to do? How about we show some love to the fans (known locally as "The Faithful") by making them the heroes of our campaign?