It’s very interesting (and bold) to see a bookmaker that would take on this cause…
Huddersfield FC and its new sponsor Paddy Power have gone from a national laughing stock, to marketing geniuses in the past few weeks.
The reason that I’m writing about this specific topic is that this was an absolute masterclass in the execution of the PR.
Paddy Power had realised that it simply could not compete with the budgets of foreign betting companies when it came to sticking logos on football club kits, so they attempted to do something about it.
The bookmaker’s solution was to invest in ‘unsponsoring’, which positions the betting brand as a puritan among a pack of attention-grabbing thieves.
The old saying ‘if you can’t beat the player, beat the game’ is very apt in this case…
So far, Paddy Power has signed up five clubs to their cause – Huddersfield Town, Newport County, Motherwell FC, Southend United and Macclesfield Town – which gave the campaign a great geographic footprint across the UK and positioned Paddy Power as a brand for ‘proper’ football fans in ‘proper’ football leagues.
The way Paddy Power and its agency partners VCCP and Octagon executed their campaign was absolutely genius…
They designed a hideous looking sash-style logo across the Huddersfield kit (pictured above) which was an intentional ploy to turn heads and get people talking – and there were numerous back page editors that took the bait!
In fact, the execution was so convincing that even the FA waded in, and officials from Huddersfield Town FC – who were obviously in on the hoax – were starting to fret about the outcome.
However, the shock and awe tactic delivered more press coverage than just about any shirt sponsor stunt in recent history…
The bad press created hype and gave the ‘Save Our Shirt’ message real potency when Huddersfield revealed it was all a big lie and Paddy Power were actually the good guys.
Just a couple of days later, Huddersfield confirmed the hoax by revealing its genuine 2019/20 kit with Paddy Power’s logo nowhere to be seen.
Some fans might feel like they were the butt of a cruel joke, but Paddy Power has them covered too.
It will allow fans to swap their old Hudderfsfield tops for a shiny new one without a massive logo on the front – free of charge!
“Paddy Power has very cleverly positioned itself on the side of those ramping up the pressure for greater legislative change which would see betting brands outlawed from the shirts of football clubs, whilst at the same time becoming the most memorable shirt sponsor around,” – David Hughes, H+K Strategies senior account director of sports marketing and partnerships – who also pointed out that most of the betting shirt sponsors do very little else other than sticking their logo on a shirt (and paying millions of pounds to do so in most cases).
There have been a number of funny digital videos rolled out to continue the campaign’s momentum;
In the shirt sponsorship stakes, Paddy Power has certainly dominated pre-season but the real challenge will be keeping the buzz going throughout the season.
Paddy Power has already extended its campaign by ‘unsponsoring’ Scottish Premier League club Motherwell;