From the new business pitch to the footy pitch

Words by: Emma Townley

We at TFG are always interested in hearing about new and interesting things happening in the world of football, especially if they are really positive things. Which handily, is what the below is all about.

To give you a bit of background here; my dayjob is in advertising and I love football (COYS), in the past I have played 5-a- side for various agency teams, it seems to me certain factions of the creative industry have an affinity for team sports. Maybe it helps people jel as a team in the office; respect on the footy pitch results in better work coming out of new business pitches. Football clubs these days also need to run like a business, with sponsorships etc. So, when I came across an article detailing that Creature (a London ad agency) had sponsored Watford Ladies football team, I was straight on the email to Dan over at Creature to ask him some questions about where the idea came from, why it’s bloody brilliant and why we both hope there is more of this sort of thing to come from the creative industries.

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Hey Dan! Thanks for talking to us. Firstly, could you explain why you guys over at Creature wanted to sponsor/invest in a football club?

Advertising agencies are brilliant at spending other people’s money, and absolutely terrible at spending their own – our job is to turn marketing spend into marketing investment, but we’re at our most comfortable when we’re one step removed from the action, and from the
risk. We’re trying really hard to be an agency that does things a bit differently – an agency that does, rather than just says – and when the opportunity to sponsor Watford Ladies FC came in to the office at the start of the season, having spent the last two years banging on at
our clients about how brilliant Women’s football is, and how they should be looking to get involved in it as early as possible, there was no way we could let it pass.

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Are you big into football?

Very much so – we’re an agency of Newcastle fans, Forest fans, Reading fans, Dulwich Hamlet fans – hell, we’ve even got a Chelsea fan (who stays pretty quiet.) More than that, though, we’re big into sport in general, and women’s football is one of the most exciting things happening in sport at the moment. We’re also keeping a hopeful eye on women’s rugby...

What kind of opportunities will it give you? Will you get to help design the kit or advertise Creature on the shirts?

Our logo will feature on the back of the home and away shirt, so whenever the Hornets score – something we hope will be a regular occurence – we’ll be front and centre on the back, if you know what I mean. To be totally honest, though, this isn’t about seeing our logo all over the sports pages: we’re realistic (if a touch aggrieved) about how stupidly under-covered women’s sport is in general. This is about (a)
doing a good thing, and supporting actively something that too many people in our industry bang on about without every actually going near, and (b) hopefully standing ourselves apart from other agencies by not being afraid to put our money where our mouth is.

I won’t lie, having two of the first team (including the vice captain) come into the office for the launch photo shoot was also one of the most fun experiences of my career. We’ve also just launched a really exciting thing: as sponsors, we get a full page ad in every programme throughout the season, and rather than use that space ourselves, we’ve opted to donate it to a different Watford-based business every week, in return for them letting us do whatever we want with it (to advertise their business). We’re hoping that will give rise to some pretty interesting stuff...

Do you think women’s football is on the up (As writers of a women’s footy magazine and site we hope it is)?

Oh, hells yes – particularly in England, where there’s a growing dissatisfaction with the men’s game, particularly in the top tiers. Women’s football has been quality for years now, and a couple of successful tournaments for the Lionesses have meant that people are finally starting to take notice. It won’t be long before people getting involved with women’s football teams, be they agencies or clients, won’t be something worth remarking upon: until that happens, though, we’re going to enjoy the hell out of being one of the people that called it
early. We couldn’t agree more about the quality in the women’s game.

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Lastly, do you guys all get tickets to matches, so you can cheer the ladies on?

Absolutely – it was a key part of the deal! Two season tickets, and a couple of group outings: we’ll all be up at Kings Langley to watch the women take on Arsenal in the Continental Cup. It’s a hell of a day out. COME ON, YOU HORNETS!

Amazing, thanks Dan. We second that sentiment and good on you guys over at Creature for doing something awesome.