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Kick off: 11 of the best football PR stunts

Football PR stunts

Football PR stunts

The English Football League kicks into action this weekend, closely followed by the English Premier League seven days later. So it’s no surprise Paddy Power— no stranger to the art of football PR stunts— has already made headlines involving the beautiful game. 

It’s fake ‘sponsorship’ of Huddersfield Town’s new kit grabbed attention from all corners of the sports press. Subsequently revealed to be a hoax, the success got us thinking about the greatest football PR stunts we can remember. 

Here’s the starting line-up, which should be enough to get you going.

11 of the best football PR stunts

Heineken — The Cliche 

Offer three guys the chance to watch the Champions League final at a special Heineken screening. Beers and all. The price; deceiving their girlfriends into thinking they had splashed out on a luxurious spa weekend to give them some ‘me time’. What happens next is laugh-out-loud funny. 

Paddy Power — Break Glass In Emergency 

Football PR stunts

We could have filled this list with Paddy Power, but this was a cut above the rest. Installing a glass box outside Old Trafford containing an ’emergency’ Sir Alex Ferguson as the team struggled under the ill-fated tenure of David Moyes was a stroke of genius. Sadly it did little to improve the once-unstoppable team’s fortunes. 

Pringles — Giant Boot 

Football PR stunts

Brands love making massive things to attract attention. Like this huge football boot constructed from tins of Pringles crisps. In situ at World Cup 2014 in Brazil, its instant photo-opp design gave passing fans plenty for the ‘Gram. Again, and again, and again. One of the simplest but most effective football PR stunts on our list. 

Emirates — Pre-match safety check 

The Dubai-based airline sponsors football in various territories, but only once did it decide to show how talented its cabin crew are. What starts off as a bizarre and slightly awkward looking marketing move explodes into life, winning onlooking fans over, and as such gets our approval. 

Heineken — The Dilemma 

Heineken’s second spectacular goal is similar to The Cliche. Except this time it asks the question ‘would you ditch your regular football mates for a chance to be at the Champions League final?’ The subject initially goes along with the idea, but guilt soon sets in. Thankfully there is a solution. 

Specsavers — Hazard 

Football PR stunts

When Chelsea’s Eden Hazard kicked a footy from under a ball boy’s feet to try and speed things up the result was anger, disbelief and ridicule. A day later Specsavers rolled out a hilarious ad campaign based on the incident. Easily one of the best reactive football PR stunts we know of. 

Carlsberg — Kit swap 

Carlsberg recently made our Blagger’s Blog Weekly High after switching green brand colours for red in support of Liverpool [LINK]. But its kit swap during the French-hosted Euro 2016 tournament was even better. Marking 50 years since England won the World Cup, fans could trade in their shirts for a replica of those worn by the winning side. 

 Southampton FC — The Greatest Kit Launch That Never Happened 

If you’re one of the three people that hasn’t seen Netflix’s much-lauded and jaw-dropping FYRE Festival documentary, this might not resonate. This season Southampton FC brought in MBIlly McFarmer, a fictional character who convincingly answers the question ‘why has no one put a Premier League club kit launch on a desert island?’ 

Travel Republic — Madrid Evac 

Football PR stunts

Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton failed to make it to this year’s Champions League final. 50,000 Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur supporters descended on Madrid for the match. Any supporters of the teams that missed out who had booked a weekend break in town were given the option to swap for another city— or take a trip to Siberia— courtesy of Travel Republic. 

Lucozade — Feminist Three Lions 

The Women’s World Cup in France was the biggest in the tournament’s history. To celebrate the ongoing rise of the female game Lucozade decided to re-write the English football anthem ‘Three Lions’. Placing the focus on heroic women flying the flag for the sport and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps, it’s up there with the most powerful football PR stunts. 

TFL — Southgate Tube Station 

Football PR stunts

Meanwhile in men’s football, last year’s World Cup saw England’s best run since winning in 1966. To say thanks to manager Gareth Southgate TFL— in partnership with Visa— renamed Southgate Tube Station. Sadly, Gareth Southgate was only a temporary stop on the Underground map, but it was a nice move.


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