English football club Huddersfield Town’s infamous marketing prank may have gone sour as Football Association is looking into this case under suspicion of “breaching sponsorship kit regulations” with the oversized “sash” Paddy Power logo featured on their shirts during pre-season.
The Championship club – which paid in top-tier Premiere League last season – will be charged with misconduct, even though the only time the said logo appeared was during the July 17th friendly against Rochdale AFC.
Regrettable PR Spoof
…the size of the logo on Huddersfield’s shirts breached the FA Regulation C.2(i). This section of Kit and Advertising Regulations clearly states that sponsorship logos are only allowed on the front of players’ shirts, not exceeding the area of 200sq cm.
The deadline for filing in a complaint to FA is August 16th – that’s as late as Huddersfield Town FC can afford to wait before providing a response in their defense.
This decision to penalize the club is a bit odd, as it comes well after it was revealed that the oversized logo situation was merely a PR stunt in order to help launch the bookmaker’s Save Our Shirt campaign. The actual shirt in which Huddersfield players will be wearing this season does not have any Paddy Power branding on it.
The Idea Behind Save Our Shirt
Save Our Shirt campaign is Paddy Power’s initiative…
…that proactively calls on football teams to abandon gambling operators’ sponsorships on their shirts as well as requesting from the said operators that they stop sponsoring team’s shirts. Thus far…
…they have so far managed to sign up several clubs, such as Scotland’s Motherwell and England’s League One team Southend United. This campaign works in such a way that Paddy Power’s commercial deal is agreed with every club without shirt sponsorship rights. Instead, the front of the shirt is completely logo and branding-free.
The FA has contacted the club about this peculiar deal prior to this sponsorship being revealed as a hoax. A club spokesperson has said that it would comply with FA investigation into the matter.
Inappropriate Targeting of Minors
Paddy Power was already warned about inappropriate advertising in June…
…when Advertising Standard Agency found that they and William Hill have displayed ads on the Looney Tunes World of Mayhem app, thus potentially targeting an underage audience. The said ads encouraged users to deposit funds in order to play arcade games or receive complimentary bet.
The ASA warned operators that “the ad must not be used again without further, specific targeting to minimize the likelihood of under-18s being exposed to it.”
Operators/Football Clubs Sponsorships Trending
It remains to be seen whether Paddy’s Save Our Shirt campaign will bear fruit…
…as it happens, multiple football clubs have formed partnerships with betting operators in recent times. Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool are just some of the top-tier clubs that have done so in England. Even Spanish champions, FC Barcelona, have formed a deal with 1xBet, although their agreement will not see the operators featured on Barca shirts (their kit sponsor is Rakuten).
Josep Pont, head of commercial operations at legendary club, says:
“We are convinced that this deal with 1xBet will help us to continue to grow both on and off the field. This deal consolidates our global expansion strategy and we are sure that it will help us to connect with new sports fans all around the world.”
“Huddersfield faces FA charge over Paddy Power shirt branding”, igamingbusiness.com, August 9, 2019.