As the new football season rapidly approaches (even though it’s still only July), so the marketing spend of the various pay-TV operators ramps up. Sky is showing some fairly well-received adverts highlighting their Premier League heritage and super-imposing Thierry Henry into the video.
On the other hand, BT is busy trying to let the British public know that it’s home of the Champions’ League and Europa League from this season. To that end they’ve created one of the worst ad campaigns in recent years.
Their recent TV ads have all been of the faux behind-the-scenes variety. So we have Ewan McGregor (who I like) hamming it up about why BT is making such a tawdry ad when “they’ve got the big films” (Only in the sense that Apple/Google/Everybody has the big films for PPV), Jose Mourinho putting up with glitter cannons and so on.
But the nadir is the BT “house party” advert featuring lots of footballers and BT Sport presenters seemingly having a blast in some mansion. Only at the very end is it “revealed” that this is another fake ad with the same characters directing it.
For one thing, it’s trying to have its cake and eat it. The makers think that this is actually a good ad. It has expensive production values. It has a cast of current European footballing stars (Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, David Luiz etc.). The two second “reveal” says to me that really they just wanted to make this ad anyway.
But what this ad actually says is that overpaid footballers live hedonistic lifestyles that none of us will ever have, and they’re doing it through inflated TV deals, pricing out younger fans from games. In short, it highlights everything that’s wrong with the game.
And was it a smart idea to include Franck Ribéry in the ad given some of his own past?
The makers may claim that their tongue is in their cheek for this ad, but I really don’t think it is.
The other problem is that it really doesn’t do the job of conveying BT’s European football rights at all. The ad just doesn’t do the job.
BT has quite a complicated message to convey about how to get its new football offering. As I’ve said before, the previous message was pretty simple: Get BT Sport free if you’re a BT Broadband customer.
Simple and punchy. It probably worked too, stopping Sky from gaining broadband customers.
Now BT’s more complicated message is: Get BT Sport for £5 a month if you’re BT Broadband customer watching via BT TV or Sky, or pay closer to £20 a month if you’re on Sky and don’t have BT Broadband, or get it free if you have BT TV too (although you need fibre for the full offering including 4K), or get it as part of the XL bundle on Virgin Media, and don’t forget that you’re “opting in” to the £5 deal even if you thought it was free, but you can downgrade to free if you get BT Sport Lite which just gets you BT Sport 1.
In the meantime, this atrocious ad played out in just about every commercial break during Saturday and Sunday’s Tour de France coverage on both ITV4 and Eurosport. I couldn’t avoid it.
I would fire AMV BBDO, the creative agency that came up with this mess.