The coronavirus’ impact on the football season and footballers’ pay has been widely debated, but a less-discussed effect of the pandemic lockdown has been what happens to club mascots when they can't be at matches.
Paddy Power's to mockumentary-style video series, which follows the imagined struggles of mascots, might change that.
In the first episode, Frank The Tank, a dinosaur who has worked as the mascot for Basildon Athletic FC for 16 years, is now suspended from work.
Being a mascot is all Frank knows, but having been previously been disgraced due to unsavoury sideline behaviour, he is finding it tough to convince a recruitment agent he has the right skills and character for another role.
The first episode earned more than a million views within 48 hours and a second episode has also proved popular.
The series was filmed and produced last year by That Lot, with Dartford FC’s Princes Park stadium among the locations used. The series was written by Noel Slevin and Steven Quick from Paddy Power’s social-media team, and was directed by Schneider.
The bookmaker's head of content and channels, Jack Wilson, said: “Anyone with even a passing interest in football will know that the real stars of the sport are the mascots – so we wanted to take fans behind the scenes to see what their life is like away from the pitch.
“Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible, so we just had to imagine what it might be like instead. We hope it gives our followers a smile, and an escape from the news updates for five minutes or so.”
Striking the right tone during the coronavirus crisis is no easy task, and is the subject of next week’s episode of PRWeek’s podcast, The PR Show. The discussion features Blurred’s Nik Govier and Frank’s Andrew Bloch.
In the meantime, here is the second episode of The Mascot.