Bookmaker Paddy Power and Championship football club Huddersfield Town have revealed a ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign designed to encourage branding-free kits in the sport.
Today’s news serves as the culmination of a week in which Huddersfield and Paddy Power have drawn attention through their sponsorship agreement. On Monday, Paddy Power agreed a deal with Huddersfield to become the new front-of-shirt sponsor of the club.
Paddy Power will serve as the club’s title partner for the 2019/20 season. The agreement marked Paddy Power’s first front-of-shirt sponsorship deal in England and was subsequently followed by Wednesday’s revelation of Huddersfield’s supposed home shirt for 2019/20.
The shirt, featuring a large Paddy Power logo as a sash running from shoulder to hip, created outcry on social media and even led to the Football Association (FA) calling on Huddersfield to explain how the agreement tied in with regulations governing the use of sponsor’s logos on team kit.
Created alongside Octagon and VCCP, today’s launch of the Save Our Shirt campaign is calling on sponsors to stop branding football shirts. This season, Paddy Power will sponsor Huddersfield by ‘unsponsoring’ them, relinquishing the front of shirt space it’s entitled to as part of the company’s role as title sponsor.
Michelle Spillane, Paddy Power’s Brand Marketing Director, said: “As a brand, we always try to be on the side of the fans – we know they love to wear their club colours with pride, but they don’t love being a walking advertising hoarding. Which is what Save Our Shirt is all about. At Paddy Power, we know our place as a sponsor – and it’s not on your shirt.”
Henry Nash, Head of Strategy at Octagon, added: “In the face of football’s crass commercialisation and relentless exploitation of fans, our ambition was to do something good for the game. There was really only one brand brave enough to pull this off. We’re beyond thrilled that Paddy Power have taken a stand with Save Our Shirt. We believe this idea will have a lasting legacy - not just on the brand but on the game itself.”
The forthcoming campaign will include social, TV, print, digital, PR and sponsorship. This season, more than half of the teams in English football’s top two divisions will be sponsored by a bookmaker – with 14 Championship teams bearing a betting brand’s logo.
As part of the campaign, Paddy Power is setting up a ‘shirt amnesty’ outside Huddersfield’s first game of the season - at home to Derby County on 5th August - where it will give out 500 unbranded Huddersfield shirts, in exchange for older, branded versions.
Paddy Power has also donated its sponsorship of the club’s training kit to the Huddersfield Town foundation.
Huddersfield Town’s Commercial Director, Sean Jarvis, said: “It has been a very interesting two days’ since the original launch on Wednesday, which we expected, but we’ve always had in mind that our supporters would understand, and really like the real kit when it was properly revealed today.
“We’re really happy with this kit, which is unique in modern-day football. I’d like to thank Paddy Power, Umbro and everyone else involved in the kit for their hard work towards today.”