After barely surviving relegation last May, Ladbrokes were offering odds of 5000/1 for Leicester City being crowned champions in 2016. Simply put, it wasn’t going to happen.
But in a remarkable season that has underlined the enigmatic essence of the beautiful game, Claudio Ranieri’s team claimed win after win to produce one of the most famous victories in the history of sport itself.
Leicester fans have not stopped celebrating, but brands have been equally passionate about their efforts to champion the champions, churning out opportunistic adverts through print and social media.
Walkers bought a whole page in The Sun newspaper to bless readers with the face of Gary Lineker, the famous crisps brand ambassador and prince of Leicester City football. The former England striker has been the centre of some controversy of late, having said at the start of the season that he would present Match of the Day in his underwear should his former club side win the Premier League.
His failure to stay true to his promise was, no doubt, the motivation behind the decision to show Lineker’s head superimposed upon a muscular frame, with an “LCFC” tattoo on ‘his’ impressive chest and wearing only a pair of white undies. The image has the whole world staring at Walkers’ new “salt and victory” flavoured crisps during their famous representative’s funniest hour.
The campaign was supported on digital billboards last month with the BBC Sport presenter’s dignity preserved only by a small bags of crisps which vanished as the title neared the Foxes’ grasp. The final image turned thousands of heads, and possibly quite a few stomachs.
A higher-brow tack was taken by the Daily Telegraph which featured a sport supplement advert by Virgin Media which states: “Leicester. Proof the best football isn’t the most expensive.”
Also jumping on the brandwagon, rum label Captain Morgan used the face of Leicester starting 11 captain, Wes Morgan, on its iconic pirate logo. The accompanying tagline read: “Well played Wes. Today there’s #OnlyOneCaptainMorgan.”
Official timing partner of Leicester City, Sekonda, also chimed in with its support via a congratulatory message in The Sun.
Each brand has shown it can think on its feet when it comes to content marketing, by adapting swiftly to environmental changes and making the most out of an unexpected outcome.
Among all those fans going crazy like a fox for Leicester are countless marketeers scratching their heads and wishing they’d been more on the ball.
One clear lesson to be learned: it pays to stay ahead of the game with ready-made campaigns that can be tailored to suit whatever eventuality in sport, no matter what the odds are against it.
By Stephen White, Amplified Business Content
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