Image Credit: 1966666
There’s no doubt that by now many of you will have seen the monstrosity of what we thought was the new Huddersfield Town home kit, with a big sash cutting through the kit with PaddyPower in massive green letters. Many thought it was a joke from the get go, others such as myself just thought the kit was real and that, maybe with a few modifications, would be the kit for the start of the season. However, earlier today, Huddersfield Town went on Twitter to announce the actual new kit which is just like every Huddersfield Town kit, it's blue and white stripes and it’s brilliant.
The most noticeable thing about the kit is the one thing that isn’t on it, sponsorship. PaddyPower announced that they were sponsoring Huddersfield this season with a video that was produced with the same comedy style of their adverts over the past few years, then they launched the mock kit earlier in the week with the only sponsor on a shirt that could be seen from space. Now, the new kit comes and it has no sponsor at all, creating the question of why PaddyPower would want to spend money on a sponsorship deal, make a big fuss about it, and then never put their logo on the club shirt.
Well that’s part of a new campaign that has been set up by PaddyPower called #SaveOurShirt. On the announcement of the new kit, Huddersfield Town wrote that “The shirt is part of @paddypower's new #SaveOurShirt campaign; an initiative that is backing a move towards unbranded football kits, effectively returning the shirt back to the fans.”, PaddyPower have also released another great accompanying video about “unsponsoring” (which might just be to prove that this was definitely planned all along)
Why do I like this campaign so much then? The answer is that everything fits together so well. What PaddyPower (a company who I don’t like or dislike for the record) have noticed is that just being another betting company sponsoring just another team in the Championship is not necessarily going to grab attention, even if they had just stuck to their standard comedy videos. So, they make a big media fuss about it with the mock kit, Huddersfield Town and PaddyPower have been grabbing headlines all over the globe with their kit, playing in it on Wednesday against Rochdale further made it look like this was no joke, which served to increase attention even more. When they finally revealed the actual kit, they made it blend expertly into their #SaveOurShirt campaign, by making the previous kit’s sponsor so utterly ridiculous and as bad as they come, they had the chance to bolster their argument for sponsorless kits.
Why do PaddyPower want to remove kit sponsors. My best guess would be that if they were seen responsible for such a thing, it would put them in a positive light in the eyes of sports fans compared to the negativity betting companies sometimes (rightfully) face. Others have theorised that it would remove an option for advertising that many of PaddyPower’s rivals take up, with PaddyPower already focusing elsewhere for their advertising.
Whatever the reasoning is and whatever you think of the new kit and desire to remove sponsors, PaddyPower and Huddersfield’s marketing was nothing short of genius, it has generated far more conversation than any other kit launch this year and whenever you see the Huddersfield kit over the course of the upcoming season, even without the logo, you’ll think of PaddyPower, subliminal advertising for a sublime kit. Whether they manage to win the Championship is a mystery, what isn’t is that they’ve already won kit campaign of the year.