Agencies line up to pitch as sportswear giant Umbro parts ways with Exposure

Umbro is on the hunt for a new consumer PR agency to help cement its position as the UK's top football kit brand.

Ashley Young: in England's Umbro-supplied kit (Getty images)
Ashley Young: in England's Umbro-supplied kit (Getty images)

The Manchester-based sports brand has been the official kit supplier of the England national football team since 1952 and signed a new ten-year deal in 2009 to provide the kit for current Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Umbro has used Exposure for the past seven years, but is now keen to refresh its PR strategy. Head of comms Catherine Rees is talking to a number of UK agencies before drawing up a shortlist.

Rees confirmed that the firm was set to hold a pitch process, adding that Umbro was keen to emphasise its credentials as a 'football culture brand'.

A statement from Exposure said that the agency had 'mutually agreed' to part company with the brand at the end of this year.

Umbro, which became a subsidiary of sports giant Nike in 2008, specialises in football performance and sports lifestyle wear.

John Doe director Rosie Holden, a former Adidas global PR manager, said that the Umbro business would be hotly contested by PR agencies: 'Umbro has some incredible assets, the biggest being the England football team kit.

'The brand appeals to the football shirt-buying consumer, as well as positioning itself as an iconic cultural brand, with connections with music, arts and fashion.'

Last year, Umbro enlisted rock band Kasabian to launch its new England football away shirt ahead of the 2010 World Cup by revealing it live on stage at a gig in Paris.

However, on the domestic front, Umbro has seen many of the top UK football clubs opting for big money kit deals with rivals Adidas and Nike.

ALL ABOUT UMBRO

  • Umbro was founded in 1924 in Cheshire as Humphreys Brothers Clothing.
  • Umbro's first major football kit was made for Manchester City in 1934.
  • Fifteen out of 16 teams at the 1966 World Cup were wearing Umbro.
  • Today Umbro supplies kits for teams including England, Wales, Glasgow Rangers and Manchester City.

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