The Winners Circle – Umbro

10 Jan 2012

Catherine Rees, Head of Communications at Umbro, tells the story behind the brand’s success in last year’s Sport Industry Awards…

The Sport Industry Awards are the most prestigious in our industry – ask anyone who works in this business and they will say these are the ones they want to win and shout about. For Umbro, it was important to enter them because since the Nike Inc acquisition of the brand at the end of 2007, we’ve undergone a dramatic brand reset and really pushed our thinking when it comes to our marketing campaigns, particularly the traditional England kit launch.

Winning the Best Use of PR in a Sport Campaign for the England Away 2010 kit launch was recognition from both our peers and experts that our original thinking and creativity could outshine our competitors, many of whom have significant larger budgets to play with.

The Sport Industry Awards are tough to win, the judging process is rigorous and only the very best work will succeed so winning has given the whole company a further confidence boost that we can change Umbro’s brand perception and our strategy and executions are the right ones in order to do so. 

The idea for the England Away 2010 campaign originated in the strategic direction we set ourselves which was to move the meaning of the England football kit from being an “icon of English Football” to an “icon of English Culture”.

We then looked to create a significant cultural impact utilising one of England’s greatest cultural exports – its musicians. This led to the idea of launching the new England away shirt on a famous English band, playing away/abroad in the country of a traditional football rival.

Our creative idea was unique: to launch the England away kit on Kasabian (England’s most famous football supporting band) whilst they played a concert in Paris. At the time, Kasabian’s media value was high as they were in the midst of promoting their new album and the Brit Awards were on the horizon.

The reveal moment resulted in a powerful PR image that captured the imagination of football and music fans alike. Thanks to key media partnership with The Sun and NME, we ensured prominent media coverage and the story kept rolling with nearly 400 pieces of coverage.

It was a real turning point for the brand and winning the Sport Industry Award reinforced that. As a result, football meets music continues to guide our brand marketing, we’re still working with Kasabian and looking forward to raising the bar again as we approach the Euros in 2012.

The sport industry's most anticipated Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 2nd May 2012. To be there, book your table now.

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