Kick It Out (KIO) is football's equality and inclusion campaign. It was set up in 1993 to tackle the problem of racism in English football, under the campaign name of 'Kick Racism Out of Football'. In October the organisation co-ordinated One Game, One Community, a dedicated 12-day period aimed at highlighting key areas of work within KIO's remit.
The period covered two weekends of professional football where each home fixture was dedicated to 'weeks of action'.
The organisation works with partners such as the Professional Footballers' Association, The FA, Premier League and Football Foundation to offer policy advice and organise activities for every professional football club across the four divisions, as well as grassroots and amateur clubs.
Alongside the direct work in football, KIO works in a range of sectors, educational institutions, local authorities, youth groups, private companies and provides funding for community groups.
- To have a focused, high-profile period of symbolic activity
- To build One Game, One Community as a standalone brand, separate from the original 'Kick Racism Out of Football' moniker
- To engage with and energise football and non-football audiences.
STRATEGY AND PLAN
First the campaign launched the new One Game logo, which was used on all publicity materials, and placed stories in the marketing press. Then it set about establishing an ambassador programme using current and former footballers such as Curtis Davies, Nicolas Anelka, Paul Elliott and Luther Blissett, who were all made available for interview.
The team carried out extensive regional activity, holding panel forums on some of the game's key issues. These included events entitled Homophobia in Football, British Asians in Football and Disabled Fans, which all received strong coverage nationally and regionally.
KIO also launched the One Game, One Community grant scheme, available to groups in different regions of the country. It announced each winner at the beginning of 'action weeks'.
The team managed to turn racist incidents in European football to its advantage as well. There was intense media interest after the FA refused to let England play at the Bernabeu Stadium and Athletico Madrid were forced to play at a neutral venue for a Champions League fixture. Both stories were woven into KIO campaign messages.
MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION
More than 600 articles made the press during the six-week campaign. Nationwide, this was the equivalent of 14 newspaper articles a day, every day of the campaign in the broadcast press. KIO reached more than 2.1 million BBC Five Live listeners through featured guests on Monday Night Football Club, Fighting Talk and The Eamonn Holmes Show and there were two separate hits on Setanta Live football show with ambassadors Chris Powell and Paul Davis in the studio on two consecutive Sundays.
The Homophobia in Football event was covered by Sky Sports and ambassador Michael Chopra appeared on BBC One's Football Focus to promote the campaign. The action weeks were explained by presenter Gary Lineker before the Newcastle vs Sunderland fixture.
The 'in-stadium' branding and publicity, including tannoy announcements, on-field branding using T-shirts, banners and views of the One Game, One Community film, reached an estimated 1,448,367 spectators across both weekends over the four divisions.
More than 300 community groups took part in the campaign - 20 per cent more than last year and more than 25 a day. More than 500 people saw the One Game ... film on YouTube.
Simon Bristow, Account manager, Pitch PR
Although this campaign is an undoubted success, with the use of current and former professionals as ambassadors across football and non-football press a particularly clever tactic, I think Kick it Out (KIO) missed an opportunity to have been a little more creative and innovative in the execution.
Digital and viral activity is becoming an increasingly popular and cost-effective option for achieving results with PR campaigns in sport, and this could have worked effectively for One Game, One Community.
The Football Association's Respect video is a perfect example of how viral activity can generate significant levels of coverage, while engaging a large audience.
A dedicated website for One Game, One Community would also have been a good idea as a quick Google search takes you directly to the KIO website.
With KIO attempting to position One Game, One Community as a standalone brand, this leads to quite confusing messaging.
Having said that, the blanket coverage and AVE achieved throughout the six-week campaign period is exceptional. The results achieved outside of the sports press are worthy of special commendation.
The clever engagement of governing bodies, clubs and players allows for key messages to be communicated.
Finally, the use of the celebrities of the game is always a sure-fire way to achieve cut-through in the crowded footballing market.