The global COVID-19 pandemic has led many businesses to change focus and find new work in unlikely places. One such story is that of German Fujifilm customer Copy Service, in Moenchengladbach. In spring 2020, the pandemic brought a temporary halt to all professional football across Europe, including the German Bundesliga. The season resumed after several weeks, but with one key ingredient missing – the fans.
With all crowds prohibited from football grounds, players and managers remarked at the bizarre feeling of playing football in empty stadiums – fortunately for one team, their supporters had a novel idea.
The Borussia Moenchengladbach supporters club came up with a plan of installing fan ‘doubles’ in the stands to give their team a sense of support during home matches, and they turned to Copy Service, a digital printing company with a proud 25-year history to make it happen.
Copy Service produces a variety of goods, including posters, business cards, and brochures as well as offering a textile printing service. Like many other printers across the globe, they were impacted heavily by COVID-19. With workflow and typical print orders reducing, the chance to print thousands of a whole new product was a welcome boost.
Owner, Antje Jindrich, offered to produce fan doubles for less than twenty Euros each. These were printed with UV inks, onto Forex – a rigid PVC substrate – using Fujifilm’s Acuity LED 1600 II. Fans sent in portraits of themselves to Copy Service and also advised where they wanted their ‘double’ to be in the stadium. It was certainly not surprising that the fans mostly preferred their regular seats.
As word cottoned on, the demand for this service grew. In the end, almost 19,000 ‘doubles’ for Borussia Moenchengladbach’s stadium were produced by Copy Service, in tandem with another company. News of this idea spread across Europe, with other professional teams from various countries deciding to do the exact same thing, and restoring a sense of colour and familiarity to the matches.
“The Acuity LED 1600 II was vital for this important project,” says Jindrich. “We originally bought it because we were looking to expand into wide format print and needed a high-quality and versatile machine to do so. The Acuity seemed the most suitable model for this and we’ve been delighted with its performance. The past year has obviously been very tough for our business, and even aside from the pandemic there are other ongoing challenges. Print runs are getting ever-shorter and we’re seeing increasing demand for specialist, customised print work. Having a machine with the versatility of the Acuity, as well as the excellent support from Fujifilm is hugely important to our continued success.”
Nils Gottfried, Product Marketing Manager, Wide Format Inkjet Systems, Fujifilm Graphic Systems Europe says: “As longtime customers had to cancel orders, Copy Service found a unique way to support itself through the COVID-19 crisis. They are one of many companies who had to adapt throughout the pandemic, not only to protect themselves, but to help restore some familiarity in a much-changed world. We look forward to continuing to work with them, whatever the future holds.”