By 90Min
October 31, 2018

A message comes through on my phone. It's from Lionel Messi.

"I can't wait to get out on the pitch with you," it reads. There's another from Coutinho, "It's a dream come true to sign you."

The contract stamped, dated and messaged back to me, Ernesto Valverde confirms, "Congratulations! You're officially part of FC Barcelona!"

I came in for a stadium tour. But this, in typical Barcelona fashion, is more than a stadium tour.

Image by Andrew Headspeath

The new BarçaViber Player Journey, in partnership with Rakuten Viber (with content created by Dugout and the technology supplied by Vivoom), takes fans through the interactive experience of 'signing' for one of the world's biggest clubs.

Visitors to Barcelona's Camp Nou can live the dream of becoming a the club’s latest transfer window acquisition (or at least get a bit closer to it) through a series of digital activation points around the ground, accessible through messaging app Viber, which include getting a contract, speaking to the press and doing the obligatory skills challenge for the cameras.

By scanning a QR code into Viber at the start of the tour, visitors kick things off by receiving congratulatory messages from Barça stars (or rather chatbots), get to pick a squad number and position and 'sign' a personalised contract (regrettably without salary).

In the mixed zone segment, fans take on the press by filming a video message answering (or expertly swerving, if you prefer) a given question. The clip, once uploaded through Viber, is turned into a personalised and branded 'press conference'.

Image by Andrew Headspeath

After meeting the press, the dressing room and tunnel walk sections of the tour are given the same treatment for Barça's newest players, with specifically designed filters helping to create more personalised clips, which can be saved as mementos of the time you walked out the tunnel at the Camp Nou, and/or shared on social media.

However, arguably the pièce de résistance of the Player Journey is the chance to impress/humiliate yourself with the ball at your feet. The BarçaViber Wall Ball Challenge allows fans to test their technique against actual Barcelona stars, with a global leaderboard displaying not only the best scores from other fans, but also several current first team Barcelona stars including Rafinha, Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Roberto.

Ever thought you could do better than a Barcelona player? Prove it.

"That was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!" Coutinho rather generously messages me, after I upload my score to the leaderboard.

Image by Andrew Headspeath

The experience, which is now open and available as part of the standard stadium and museum tour at Camp Nou, is a first in the world of football and helps to bring fans just a little bit closer to their wildest dreams, in a very modern twist on the bog standard stadium tour.

CEO of Viber, Djamel Agaoua says: "This partnership is a perfect example of how brands can leverage technology to deepen their interactions with their audiences. With this powerful combination, we can deliver inspiring user experiences for businesses around the globe."

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