FOREST GREEN ROVER SPONSORSHIP
Healthy drinks brand innocent wanted to create a PR campaign to promote its sponsorship of Forest Green Rovers – the world’s greenest football club. Included in this sponsorship was the right to rename the stadium. The club is in the fourth tier of English football, so to get widespread media and public interest, we needed to create an attention-grabbing idea that was more ‘Premier League’ than ‘League 2’.
We created a PR campaign based around a fan vote to rename the new stadium. However – this was carefully constructed to allow us to have several media-worthy moments.
Firstly, in the interim until the new name was decided, we officially renamed the ground The innocent [insert name here] Stadium –registering it with the Football League so for one weekend only, it would appear as such on all official football league communications and programming. We arranged for the main club sign at the stadium to be replaced with a new one featuring the interim name to provide a strong visual asset for the story.
This was not only aimed at driving earned PR coverage, but also eliciting organic coverage – we knew that football pundits just wouldn’t be able to resist commenting on the unusual name.
Secondly, we put the name of the new stadium to a fan vote. This was aimed at generating a swell of social interaction around Innocent and FGR’s channels, as well as giving us a second opportunity to go back out to media.
We crowdsourced name suggestions from fans and chose four for the final vote. One of the suggestions we received was ‘Kevin’ – a play on Kevin Keegan/Vegan. We put ‘Kevin’ up for the vote alongside three other options. Owing to human nature and the British sense of humour – we knew Kevin would take the lead. And it did! At this point, we went out with a second media story highlighting that, with just 24 hours to go in the vote, the ground of a professional English football club could soon be called ‘Kevin’.
We did of course give season tickets the final say on the matter – they opted to restore order and reinstate the club’s previous name of ‘The innocent New Lawn’ – but by this point the awareness job was done!
The first stage of the campaign led to coverage on the likes of Sports Bible and the ‘organic’ element came together perfectly with all coverage of the match highlighting it was taking place the ‘innocent [insert name here] stadium’. And innocent even got multiple shout outs on Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports for the interim name.
As expected, fans got on board with the social vote – with Innocent recording a quarter of its annual social impressions target in just one week and famous footballing figures such as Jeff Stelling getting involved on Twitter. There was no spend on social activity.
The main story – Kevin being in the lead of the vote – garnered even more media interest, with hero pieces of coverage on page three of The Sun, Mail Online and Talk Sport. It even made an appearance on BBC One quiz shot Have I Got News For You as one of the standout stories of the week.