The Power of Unbranding

In recent years, gambling companies have become key players in the world of football sponsorship. Consistent television adverts, football jerseys, and risky social media tactics have made it unbearable for many football fans to stay away from it.

The Guardian reported that half of Premier League clubs have gambling companies sponsoring them for the 2019/2020 season. Whilst in the Championship seventeen out of the twenty-four clubs have gambling companies sponsoring them.

However, Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker and gambling site, have used the saturation of gambling adverts to their advantage, in their new campaign Save our shirt.

Just this season, Huddersfield Town, an English football club which currently plays in the EFL Championship, began a new journey that had football enthusiasts angered. Huddersfield alongside Paddy Power revealed their “new” kit with great excitement. Writing about the new sponsored design on their blog, Huddersfield stated: “The instantly recognisable green logo of the main sponsor is proudly emblazoned across the chest of the shirts in a new twist for the kit; a diagonal strip ranging from the shoulder down to the hip.”

Credit: Paddy Power

This outrageous design had some fans angered and some amused. Many fans vented on social media, saying the design goes against the rules and that it’s the beginning of sponsors ruining football kits forever. More impressively and understandably this outrage caused many publications to cover this with detail. It went as far as even making Huddersfield and Paddy Power trend on Twitter, bringing in millions of impressions.

With so much publicity, mostly negative, it seemed like this wasn’t a bright idea by Paddy Power and Huddersfield.

Yet a few days later, Paddy Power released a video explaining the whole reveal was just a massive marketing ploy. The whole PR campaign was just part of their bigger campaign named Save our shirt, which is missioned to bring back football kits into their original state — making them sponsor less.

This reveal had many fans relieved. Praise was given to the marketing department of Paddy Power and endless publicity surrounded Paddy Power and Huddersfield again. This time making them the winners in the eyes of football fans.

The pure genius of this campaign is that Paddy Power made themselves the first big company do it, meaning if any other companies attempt to copy, they will just bring more publicity and advertisement to Paddy Power. It will also be a conversation starter for months to come, fans who haven’t heard about the campaign will ask, who is sponsoring Huddersfield?