CAMPAIGNS: Consumer PR - Burton gains from England team suit link

High-street menswear brand Burton is one of ten associate sponsors to the Football Association and carries the title of 'Official Menswear Supplier to the FA and England Football Team'. Forming a large part of this partnership are the rights to design and sell the team suit. The brief was for PR to lead the promotion of the availability of the suit in-store prior to an ad campaign.

However, the unveiling of the suit collided with revelations that team coach Sven-Goran Eriksson had had an affair with TV presenter Ulrika Jonson.

Objectives

To raise awareness prior to an ad campaign of the availability of the England suit in-store among the target audience of men aged 18 to 34.

To increase positive association of Burton through coverage of the suit.

To increase enquiries and subsequent sales of the England suit.

Strategy and Plan

Research conducted by Burton pointed to high awareness of the brand but low positive association with the Burton image. To make the association with the brand and the England team credible, the agency asked Burton customers within different age brackets to name the personalities that were likely to encourage purchase.

The strategy was then to develop a panel of influencers to lead the campaign. These included David Beckham and Eriksson. To keep the association strong, it was essential to ensure the key names were fully involved in the design process of the suit from start to finish.

The agency set about communicating that Burton designed the suit worn by England's legendary team of 1966 to re-iterate Burton's heritage within football and menswear, and play on luck 'omens'. Ketchum also communicated the accessibility of the suit to the target audience through editorial makeovers using members of the public/readers/viewers.

Through these key messages it was hoped the credible link between Burton and the England team would remain tangible and logical.

This would encourage positive association of the brand throughout the suiting process.

To announce the product, a story was released to key press that Burton was designing the England suit with the input of players, particularly style icon Beckham. They were to be involved throughout the process with the final suit to include their own apparel requirements. Images were also issued of the 1966 team wearing Burton suits to highlight the brand's heritage within football.

Image-led stories detailing the fittings with the England squad were released to key media in early March. Each photograph highlighted an element of the suiting process and intended to show the England team's involvement with the Burton brand.

These fittings were also recreated with men from various jobs living in regions across the country, and through editorial features - including the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express. The men were given style advice on wearing a suit by Burton tailor and fashion spokesman, Wesley Taylor, who was also involved in the suiting of the national football team.

The official unveiling of the England suit with Eriksson included a video news release (VNR), created by Ketchum, depicting the design process of the suit from start to finish.

The original prototype of the suit was taken on a regional tour of ten stores in England throughout May.

BBC Football Focus presenters Ray Stubbs and Mark Lawrenson hosted the events. Each region was targeted with an editorial and ad campaign to drive footfall and sales of the suit.

Measurement and Evaluation

The campaign gained more than 130 pieces of national and regional coverage, including front-page stories in The Sun and the Daily Mirror. More than 95 per cent was positive about Burton and included information on suit availability.

Throughout 250 stores in the UK, the VNR is positioned in the show window alongside suit and imagery developed from the fittings.

The strategy of harnessing the influencers was used in the ad campaign and in material sent to 400,000 customers.

Ketchum reports that the Jonson revelations - which put the England boss (in suit) on the front pages - helped boost coverage for Burton and did not require any significant change to its suit launch strategy.

Results

Following the suit's unveiling, a questionnaire was sent by NOP Omnibus to 2,000 people. Twenty-eight per cent of respondents among 18 to 34-year-old men indicated unprompted that Burton designed the England suit. This figure was zero per cent at the start of the campaign.

Prior to the ad campaign, the suit had sold 300 per cent more than projected.

Two-thirds of stores had sold out by day three of the suit's launch. Final sales figures have yet to be assessed.

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