Paddy Power had asked us to activate their #SaveOurShirt campaign, which was essentially the reveal of their season-long sponsorship of Huddersfield Town football club. This sponsorship was slightly different to the standard bookie sponsor seen on most football shirts. Their belief was that betting sponsors are ruining football shirts and the game as we know it. They decided to release a fake shirt, with a horrific ‘Paddy Power’ sash across the front and would then later reveal that it was fake. Paddy Power then ‘unsponsored’ the shirt by giving Huddersfield the opportunity to play in a blank shirt all season. The challenge? To get the whole footballing world talking about it.
Key campaign objectives
Get football fans talking about #SaveOurShirt
The strategy: The Right Mix, The Right Thing, The Right Time. By seeding the conversation into the right communities, in the right way, at the right time they were able to establish awareness and control the narrative ensuring that Paddy Power’s ‘thing’ became ‘THE thing’ on the internet. The team segmented groups of creators and curators and chose the appropriate voices from each groups such as: the commentary community, social curators, social celebs and football twitter. By bringing them in on the stunt and the #SaveOurShirt mission, they were able to leverage their engaged communities and get everyone talking about the campaign. Using a three-stage approach, they established a compelling narrative online which sent the campaign viral very quickly.
Creativity and innovation
We know that people don’t like to miss out and that FOMO is most definitely real. Knowing this, they got the campaign rolling by getting their squad of social creators and curators to talk about the horrific sash ridden shirt Huddersfield had just released. These series of tweets were sent out in a chain over the course of an evening, giving the football world enough time to become outraged by a shirt that had been ruined by a sponsor. After the initial launch, football fans from all over the world were quickly becoming confused and outraged by the Huddersfield shirt.
The team had its next move lined up and ready to go. Huddersfield were playing in a friendly match the following evening, so what did they do? They got everyone talking about the friendly that hadn’t even been played yet. Sparking whispers that the team were going to play in the horrific kit. The squad of social creators and curators activated again in a chain of tweets, that started to bait some of the biggest football accounts into talking about this meaningless game. That evening the team eventually walked out and played in the fake shirt sparking outrage all over social media.
Two days after the friendly, Paddy Power revealed the real ‘unsponsored’ version of the Huddersfield shirt to football fans that had been fuelled by our squad of social accounts into becoming outraged by a football shirt. The same creators and curators that initially brought this news to the attention of football fans, were encouraging fans to talk about the reveal of the real Huddersfield shirt for the 2019/2020 season.
The campaign was a massive success. Paddy Power’s work around the Huddersfield shirt reveal made the rest of the #SaveOurShirt campaign a talking point in the football world. Ball Street Network helped turn five other, what would’ve been local stories, into global conversations as Paddy Power revealed they would also be ‘unsponsoring’ the shirts of a few lower league sides such as Southend United and Cambridge United. Ball Street Network made the #SaveOurShirt conversation trend on social so quickly that the likes of SportBible, BBC Sport and more felt the need to get in on the action.
So much so, that it encouraged Sky Sports to photoshop the sponsors off of the Top 6 Premier League clubs and post the edits on all of their socials. The reveal of the real ‘unsponsored’ Huddersfield Town became the most liked shirt reveal tweet in history with over 42K likes. Almost quadruple what Man United achieved with their reveal on Twitter.
Ball Street Network turned a local shirt reveal into a global conversation amongst football fans and helped make this the biggest shirt reveal there has ever been on social. The work in this campaign showcased the value of Paddy Power’s organic amplification model vs paid social models that many agencies and brands still use.