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💡 nutmeg fc #17
Today: (Some of) the best creative ideas from the football industry.
Last week Meta officially announced that it intends to start charging a subscription fee to users who want to browse without advertising.
A new era begins in which they will need creativity more than ever. Less traditional one-way advertising and more content that works naturally in the medium in which it is shared. Less pushing messages and more stories that connect the fan, the football insider (the club, the athlete, the competition, etc.) and the sponsor.
In this issue of nutmeg fc I prioritised four ideas that put the fan at the undisputed centre of the experience.
And it all starts with a tongue twister.
The two biggest names in football (LaLiga + Llanfairpwll)
There are many reasons for one country's league to sponsor a team from another league. Well, not many, but there are a few.
The first is globalisation: people everywhere follow teams everywhere. A little more than ten years ago I met a guy from Colombia who supported Chelsea and no team from his country. What was a rarity at the time is much more common today.
The second is a development strategy that aims to free this league from the limits of format and context and transform it into an overarching experience.
The third is to conquer a new audience, in this case from a new country. In the eat-or-be-eaten culture, you always have to be on the lookout for bigger numbers.
The fourth is to attract attention. Plain and simple.
And this is what LaLiga's marketing and sponsorship team must have been thinking when they decided to partner with the football team with the longest name in the world:
The idea seems like a silly joke, a play on words (the two biggest names in football come together), but it is very well thought out.
The deal became a news story that gave it much more visibility than a sponsorship deal usually gets and allowed LaLiga to stand out in a foreign market such as the UK. It also continues LaLiga's strategy of presenting itself as something bigger than a local competition. Sportian, LaLiga OMG, EA Sports FC, LaLiga Studios and, now, (copy+paste) Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllllllantysiliogogogogogoch are all, in one way or another, LaLiga.
And, while they're at it, they make it clear to those who still see a 4 or a Y in the new LaLiga logo that it's a double L, like the five double Ls the Welsh club has in its massive name.
Where's my friend (Movember)
There is a symbiosis between suicide and football and that is why I want to highlight ideas like this one which, although not very original, is relevant and impactful.
According to the UK's National Statistics office, three out of four people who take their own lives are men and suicide is the leading cause of death among men aged between 20 and 34.
As the profile matches that of the fans who usually go to watch football matches at the stadium, the NGO Movember, which works on men's health issues, teamed up with English clubs Rotherham United and Darlington FC to bring this initiative to life on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September).
During a match they decided to leave several empty seats with a message: Where's my mate?
The aim was to remind fans that watching out for signs, such as missing a match for no apparent reason, can be key to preventing suicide.
According to Movember, informal environments, such as a football stadium, help men to integrate and connect. This coincides with a study in the book Soccernomics (by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski) which says that football is a key element in combating suicide because of its ability to socially integrate more introverted people and give them a sense of belonging and a common goal.
Play Unstoppable (LEGO)
I feel that the Oxford dictionary definition of the word "content" is an understatement. It reads: the information or other material contained on a website or other digital media.
I understand it, but I think it's outdated. Content is already beyond the limits of digital. For instance, why can't we talk about a toy as branded content? After all, it is part of the brand's storytelling, it offers an emotional experience with the brand, it works as entertainment for the target audience, it can be shared to reach new audiences…
For this reason, I have decided that Play Unstoppable, Lego's collection of mini-figures of some of the top female footballers, is branded content.
But not just any branded content, but good branded content, because it lasts over time, generates a strong emotional bond, makes an impact in a different way than other content and reaches a target audience that is as difficult to reach as it is necessary for football played by women.
I must admit that I also like this idea for an egocentric reason. It reminds me of a similar initiative I did a few years ago with Audi, Lego and rally driver Michèle Mouton.
I wish the crest was on the other side (Málaga CF + Hummel).
The story goes like this:
X user (Twitter user for the nostalgic) Auroramttss wrote to Málaga CF about a patient of hers, a child, who was lamenting not being able to wear the club's jersey as the crest interfered with the catheter where he is having his chemotherapy. "I wish the crest was on the other side," the boy told his nurse and the nurse told the club.
Only two days later, the shirt with the crest on the other side was ready.
I loved the story as soon as I read it, but doubts arose: Whose idea is it? The boy's, who expressed the wish? The nurse's, who passed it on to the club? The club's, who decided to make it happen? Hummel's, who executed it?
I don't know, but it doesn't really matter either. Because like any good idea, it puts the user, the consumer, the fan, the human being at the centre of everything, it connects with the target audience, it is relevant, it generates impact, it is shareable and it conveys a message effectively.
Everybody wins. The boy and his nurse, of course, but also Hummel, who found themselves with an initiative that gave them much more visibility than the jersey launch campaign, and Málaga CF, who scored a lot of points in their efforts to win back the love of the fans after relegation to the third division.
And that, to make everybody win, is what a good idea should always do.