You’d be forgiven, if you’re not a football fan, if you had missed the latest trend amongst football clubs and the way they inform their supporters about what’s happening and breaking news this summer.  The news announcement video has taken on a new form thanks to the digital and social media departments at professional clubs across the country.

Digital and video announcements are nothing new in the football world but clubs are becoming ever more creative, and sometimes cringeworthy, in their quest to break the news about a latest signing or news developments.  Personally, I’m a traditionalist which is quite unusual given the job and the industry in which I work but I quite like my football transfers to be a little bit ‘old school’.  A good old fashioned ‘holding up the shirt’ is something I’ve grown up with over the years and I like it, pretty much in this style:

 

OFFICIAL: We’re delighted to announce the signing of Marc Roberts from Barnsley. Head over to bcfc.com for the full story. #BCFC

A post shared by Birmingham City Football Club (@bcfcofficial) on

But, arguably, I’m not the intended audience as the clubs look to create their presence on social media and in the digital world.  So when a few million quid has been spent on the latest signing and there are replica shirts to sell, predominantly to the younger generation of fans, then a well crafted creative news post or announcement video is possibly the perfect method of getting the story out there.

Football is huge on social media; Manchester City have nearly one million subscribers to their YouTube channel – the biggest in British football.  Arsenal have more than 10 million followers on Twitter, Manchester United have more than 18 million Instagram followers and more than 30 million people Like the Liverpool Facebook page.  So, with all those followers, football clubs need to keep their fans, followers and supporters entertained, informed and engaged to ensure that they stay on top of their news feeds and the content is shared, tagged and watched as much as possible.  Most importantly, at this time of year, there is a need to keep the supporters engaged and interested. During the close season with no actual football action taking place, fans feed off transfer rumours, stories and crucially, confirmed announcements of new signings.  Add to this the obligatory unveiling of the new kit for the coming season and details of pre-season training, then clubs have their work cut out to keep up with fans’ need for news and content.  So the more creative and interesting these announcements can be, the better it is to enhance the clubs’ brands across their digital channels.

This is where video announcements have evolved into what we see today.  Increasingly slick productions that tap into the psyche of the audience and, knowing the football industry like I do, there is an element of outdoing the competition too.  Football club media departments up and down the country will be constantly looking to get one over their counterparts, all in the name of trying to create that viral video sensation.

Its fair to say that not all announcement video ideas hit the right notes across the board.  But again, it depends very much on who the target audience is.  Its easy for an older fan to roll his eyes at the sheer cheesiness of an announcement video or to turn her nose up at how the video is presented but to the mobile, social media, YouTube generation a video production is pretty much expected these days to communicate what’s happening.

Liverpool FC Announcement Video

A few weeks ago, Liverpool signed Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah and to promote his arrival their media team produced this video for their fans.

Its simple enough to tease not only the new player but also the new kit and so far has grabbed nearly half a million views and has also spawned a vlog series about the Egyptian’s arrival.  But in the grand scheme of things its actually quite tame as clubs look to new ways to engage with their followers.  As a rule, I like this as it’s production values make it a classy looking piece.  Its about the right length and conveys a nice and simple message.

Chelsea FC New Signing Announcement Video

Contrast the Liverpool video to this Chelsea one.  The London club took their news announcement video to a new level with their latest post which attempted to inject some humour into the announcement of their latest high profile signing.  The problem with these types of promotional video is that it relies on an engaged player playing his part.  It doesn’t actually look like Antonio Rudiger actually knows what is going on or why he is doing this but I appreciate the effort that has gone into it to create something different.

 

I suppose the main thing to look at here is that while the Liverpool video is really only interesting to Liverpool fans, the Chelsea video has got a much wider audience watching.  Admittedly it has come in for some criticism for being cheesy but it has got football fans across the country watching and talking about it, either for the right or wrong reasons, and has projected news about the new signing and the Chelsea brand to a much wider digital audience.

Aston Villa Social Media Video

Taking a different approach is Aston Villa who used an unusual video featuring an imaginary Whats App group to announce the signing of John Terry.  This social media video has been criticised and mocked by many on social media, not least for some of the inaccuracies that feature in the video.  As is often the case, there is nowhere to hide on social networks and some of the faults spotted by eagle-eyed viewers include why players have been included on the group who don’t play for the Championship side, why is the club and owner discussing high level transfers on Whats App and so on.  Whilst it may be something different and a new approach to unveiling a transfer it does seem to have fallen a little bit flat and missed the point somewhat – a bit like the last few seasons for the Championship side!

 

In addition to new signings, clubs also have new replica kits to sell so promotional videos can make it look like high fashion and very glossy.  Of course, the other big objective during the summer months is selling season tickets so an emotive video focussing on the hearts and minds of supporters can also be a powerful sales and marketing tool.  With a lack of playing action to display, it means that clubs can flood their channels with meaningful content with a simple and targeted objective.  Tottenham Hotspur put this video out to promote their kit launch while Birmingham City put the focus back on the fans and what it means to be a Birmingham fan to promote their season ticket sales.

 

It seems that whatever your opinion on how clubs announce their news, the key is to engage with their fans across their digital channels.  Every club in the English league has an online TV channel and a media department able to create emotive and engaging video content as well as social media posts that connect with their audience.  Football has often been seen as traditional and slow to keep up with the times but in this case the clubs are leading the way, especially from other sports, in communicating with their fans.  The main benefit that football clubs have is that they have the material to work with in the first place – players, news, football action, gossip and more.  It remains to be seen if the approach that they take can be used by other companies in different sectors and they style of videos seen above can be applied in the same way.

If you are looking to create an announcement video or are looking at crafting a video marketing strategy you can contact our marketing director, Adam Snelleksz or our video activation specialist, Leon Deakin to see how we can help you.

***UPDATE***

After I wrote this blog, Southampton FC put out this video.  It seems like I’m not the only one taking a look at the new style of announcement video.  I love this and it backs up a lot of my thoughts on the subject.  Enjoy and well done Southampton……