BEST CLUB MARKETING
Accrington Stanley FC
When local businessman Andy Holt MBE took control of Accrington Stanley in 2016, supporter numbers had dwindled, with just 800 season ticket sales. Youth engagement became a key focus.
Starting in 2018, on four separate occasions, Accrington Stanley has invited 1200 local children to the Wham Stadium, across 40 different schools – 4800 children to date.
The children visit the club, meet first team players, club officials, and local celebrities, take away a replica shirt, and have the experience of a lifetime.
Even during 2020 COVID-19 restrictions, Scott Dawson Advertising collated 1200 goody bags and hand delivered them to schools in just three days with 40 banners, with a player ambassador photo on for each school, for ‘team photos’.
From a marketing perspective, the event has gained coverage on Sky Sports, ITV Granada Reports, BBC Radio Lancashire, plus multiple print coverage and a huge amount of reach on social media.
Before lockdown, total season ticket sales had risen from 800 to 1000, a 25% increase – with around 10-15% being U12’s tickets. The average gate pre restrictions had risen to 2000.
Andy Holt MBE, owner and Chairman, summed it up on Twitter when he said “Best thing we ever did…..”
AFC Wimbledon, Plough Lane Bond campaign – Cake
AFC Wimbledon is one of the world’s most famous fan-owned football clubs. After the original Wimbledon FC had to leave Plough Lane the fans decided to start over at the lowest level of English football.
The club has made incredible progress and after six promotions is now in League One. However, there was one final hurdle the club faced – getting back to their spiritual home Plough Lane.
The Dons Trust – fan-owners of AFC Wimbledon – hoped to raise £3 million from fans and investors, within one month to maintain fan control and help fund the final phase of construction.
Cake were up for the challenge – our Plough Lane Bond campaign was split into two phases:
1. A targeted AFC Wimbledon fan-focused awareness campaign
2. A media launch to engage the wider football community and investors nationally
• We engaged AFC Wimbledon fans, harnessing their passion for the club to raise £2 million
• The media launch raised £1.5m in one week
• The £3m target was smashed, reaching almost £5.5m within the initial deadline
• This has made history by being the biggest every single bond raised by a football club
Aston Villa FC – Kit Launch 20/21
Aston Villa Football Club’s Kit Launch for 20/21 took a different approach to your traditional modern kit launch. We listened to our fans for an insight-led, fan-centric approach which removed distractions and focussed on what our fans really wanted – our kit.
Taking this fan-centric approach, we focussed our marketing campaign on clean, stylised creative which highlighted the impressive design of our 20/21 range. Using players from our Men’s, Women’s and Disability teams meant we could show broad representation on athletes with an impressive range of video, photography and graphic design assets.
Our campaign was targeted across numerous key fan audiences, with elevancy for each, making this a truly fan-centric campaign.
This resulted in smashing all targets set across key objectives covering commercial, partners, brand and importantly fan sentiment.
Moving away from the typical approach was a risky move – with no ‘story’ but letting our kit do the talking. However it meant we could focus on high quality creative and provide exactly what our fans wanted, staying true to an insight-led fan-centric approach, leading to impressive results.
Bradford City FC
Bradford is the fifth largest metropolitan district and one of the most ethnically diverse communities within England. The Club wanted to use its stature to encourage a positive and welcoming environment both within the Club’s fanbase and wider Bradford district.
CityForAll centres around Bradford City’s four pillars to be ambitious, welcoming, affordable and proud. The campaign plays a large part in Bradford City providing a safe, inclusive community where all fans feel comfortable supporting the Club and attending their games, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or age.
Supporters, players and officials were shot talking about their stories to share their experiences and pride in being a City supporter. There is a diverse range of people including former players, the Club chairman in Berlin, to the involvement of celebrity supporters such as Zayn Malik – to constantly cement the feeling that City is for everyone, no matter what your personal circumstances are or background.
CityForAll works across the Club’s Season Ticket campaign, kit launch and social media campaigns. Stories are told and recorded in various different locations from a football environment to a home setting.
We are one family, the Bantams family.
‘The Brentford spirit remains genuine and true, as we nod to our history of claret, salmon and blue.’
Brentford Football Club left Griffin Park at the end of the 2019/20 season to begin life at a new state-of-the-art stadium. Griffin Park was The Bees’ home for 116 years, but the story began elsewhere.
The Club was formed in October 1889 at the Oxford and Cambridge Hotel in Kew, a stone’s throw away from the site of The Bees’ new stadium. Claret, salmon and blue, the same colours as the Brentford Rowing Club, were adopted as the Football Club’s colours.
131 years on, Brentford took inspiration from its past with a claret, salmon and blue third strip. The Bees marked the start of a new era with a nod to how it all began, with original source material used as the bedrock of the New Beginnings campaign.
The campaign, which was described as ‘another winner from Brentford and Umbro’ by the kitsman.com, struck a chord with supporters with all stock sold out within a week of launch.
Chelsea FC / 500 Supporters Clubs
To celebrate reaching milestone of 500 Official Supporters Clubs in over 100 countries around the world, Chelsea FC hosted an interactive, fan-centred celebration. Crucially, as a result of the initiative, the club gained an additional 137 new Official Supporters Clubs in the quarter following the campaign and increased their Supporters Club membership by over 15% along the way.
This rocketed Chelsea’s total number of Official Supporters Clubs to way past 600 clubs; overtaking Juventus and Real Madrid to have the third-most in European football, now behind only Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
Everton FC – More Than Eleven
As the world faced the pandemic, and football was dealing with its impact on sponsorship, marketing and activation, Everton and new technical partner hummel sought to deliver a first for football – a ground-breaking non-player led kit launch that showcased hummel’s commitment to investing in Club charity Everton in the Community, and saw players from Everton in the Community’s Disability programme (celebrating its 20th anniversary) – become the focus. This activation was part of the wider ‘More Than Eleven’ 2020/21 campaign, spotlighting the strong bond between Everton – The People’s Club – and its worldwide community whose role is vital to Everton’s success. Each kit launch reflected a different aspect of the strong relationship between fans and Club. The strategy was to undertake a wholly online launch, using insight and research to underpin each kit creative and deliver an integrated campaign. By using the challenges to focus a campaign in a digitally innovative and agile way, Everton and hummel delivered the Club’s three best-selling kits of all time. More Than Eleven embedded hummel into the Everton Family, and consolidated the unbreakable bond between fans, players and the Club when this sense of family was needed most.
Leyton Orient FC
The Ultimate Quaran-Team initiative embraced the conditions inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic, enjoying global success, whilst raising money for three causes.
Initially aiming for 64 teams to enter, less than 48 hours after Tweeting out about the competition, we had 128 clubs signed up ready to go. Entrants came from across the globe, including the US, Africa, Australia, France, Holland, Russia and the United Kingdom.
Clubs from a total of 17 countries took part, with each choosing a competitor to represent their football club throughout each stage.
The tournament raised £80,000 for the nominated causes, and the media coverage was global – with Leyton Orient at the heart of a rapidly unfolding digital world during a global pandemic.
Media appearances with external organisations allowed us to promote nationally and internationally. Staff members made over 20 prime time TV and radio appearances; appearing on shows such Sky News, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 1, TalkSport and Radio 5Live in the UK.
The far reaching and inclusive outcome was beyond our wildest dreams – as we were able to bring people together, and put a smile on the face of people across the world.