Liverpool FC Captain Virgil van Dijk and former England Lioness Jill Scott MBE have joined Heineken as the company’s global ambassadors for its latest campaign.
The “Cheers To The Real Hardcore Fans” campaign will feature both van Dijk and Scott to ‘subvert expectations and redefine what it means to be a real hardcore fan’ in an effort to tackle negative stereotypes of the hardcore football fan.
As well as aiming to make football more inclusive, the campaign will commence this week ahead of the beginning of the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, to which Heineken is a long time partner.
Van Dijk commented: “The ‘Real Hardcore’ fans make me proud and appreciative as a player. I think reclaiming this phrase is important, the historic negative connotations are something we need to remove from the game, no one is born a racist, I think the key things to make change are education and communicating with each other.
“I hope we can be part of that change, that’s why I’m glad Heineken is challenging the perception of what a real fan is to show there is a place for everyone in the game.”
The Netherlands and Liverpool centre-back was part of a film to support the message of the campaign, also featuring Women’s Champions League winner Scott, created by Australian Director Mark Molloy.
“I used to go to the Stadium of Light with my granddad almost every weekend without fail, come rain or shine,” said Scott.
“But when you think about what a hardcore football fan looks like, most people don’t picture a teenage girl. That’s what I love about Heineken’s new campaign. It’s showing you what real football fans look like and playing on people’s expectations of who a real hardcore fan is.”
The campaign will follow a global competition in which fans can take part in for the chance to win tickets to the UEFA Champions League Final on 1 June at Wembley Stadium in London.
Nabil Nasser, Global Head of Heineken, added: “There’s a minority of football fans that can spoil the game for everyone else, giving “hardcore” fans a bad name, but those problematic few don’t represent the majority.
“Our new campaign is a witty twist on the “hardcore fan” stereotype, showing instead what hardcore fandom really looks like, celebrating the diverse group of people who truly live and breathe the sport in a positive, and sometimes quirky way.”