Funnily enough, broadcaster BT Sport is keen to get armchair fans dribbling in anticipation – and we’re not talking a mesmerising Messi run either, unless anyone has a spare €700m – with a spanking new marketing campaign.
Created by Saatchi & Saatchi, “Unlimited Substitutions” opens with a committee meeting, in which a very bored Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti spends most of his time on his mobile. That is until the committee comes up with a grand plan to give football “a total reset” by allowing unlimited substitutions – including the ability to “switch whole teams out, in any competition”.
Ancelotti then takes a picture of the document on his phone and posts it online. Cue shock and horror as the plan goes viral, with a studio shot of Gary Lineker saying “Unlimited subs in every competition?”, to which Rio Ferdinand responds: “I mean, what are they thinking?”. A cut screen then pops up with presenter Jeff “It’s unbelievable” Stelling shouting “Scrap it” and Ferdinand adding “Complete madness.”
Even Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and his wayward wife Rebekah get in on the action, with him telling her “they wouldn’t take me off” only to be seen within seconds being subbed.
It then cuts to a host of Premiership players – from Marcus Rashford to Trent Alexander-Arnold – dismissing the concept.
As the ad concludes, Ancelloti is seen running the media gauntlet as he tries to escape the fall-out from his leak and the voiceover states: “Unlimited subs, the BT TV exclusive. Sub every football package every month with flexible BT TV.”
The TV push will run for two weeks alongside outdoor, print, radio and social activity.
BT brand and demand generation director Dave Stratton said: “The fan-centric approach [is] really what led us to the direction we’re in today. When people who are unsure of what’s going to take place the over the coming weeks and months, especially from the football side of things, having the ability to switch your packages on and off is even more relevant than it’s ever been.
“As we come to the start of the football season, it was a great opportunity for us to take that package and blow it up for football fans.”
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?
Well, with a room split straight down the middle by football lovers and football haters, a consensus is hard to reach.
The footie lovers love it; the haters couldn’t give a stuff, but even the latter have to admit it is well executed and – as there isn’t much football on show – is actually quite amusing. (Just don’t ask them to watch a full 90 minutes, plus time added on.)
So, it’s a thumbs up to Saatchi & Saatchi, nice work team.
Decision Marketing Adometer: A crowd-cheering, rattle-shaking, “unbelievable Jeff” 9 and out 10