CAMPAIGNS: Carling’s bid to be football crazy - Sponsorship

CarlingNet (www.fa-carling. com) is the official web site of the Carling Premiership, the FA championship which has been backed by the Bass brand for three years.

CarlingNet (www.fa-carling. com) is the official web site of the

Carling Premiership, the FA championship which has been backed by the

Bass brand for three years.



The site was launched by the Bass sponsorship department in December

1995 to provide news and information for football fans. Paragon worked

with the team in developing and promoting the CarlingNet Fans Survey

which sought fans’ opinions on football issues ranging from whether

referees should be professional to which ground has the best pies.



Objectives



To position Carling as an innovative football sponsor by establishing

CarlingNet Fans Survey as the biggest and most comprehensive football

internet survey in the world.



Tactics



Having composing 20 ’headline provoking’ questions, Paragon launched the

survey to the national sports media via a press release inviting fans to

take part. Articles were placed in all Premiership matchday programmes

and briefings were given to radio stations in cities with a Premiership

team.



A link to the survey, which ran from 24 August to 5 October, was given

on the CarlingNet home page. Almost 9,000 people responded. Once the

results were collated, testimonials were obtained from the sport’s main

bodies and these formed part of the media information kit, along with a

quote from the BBC’s John Motson, who was voted most popular TV

commentator.



The week before the results were launched, Paragon placed an article in

the Carling Bulletin, a weekly media information service, announcing

embargoed dates for the release of the results. The media was directed

to Paragon for a copy of the media kit and results, and the opportunity

for a telephone interview with Bass Brewer’s head of sponsorship Mike

Flynn.



The embargoed kit was sent out three days before the press launch

day.



Phone briefings were given to all national newspapers, radio stations

and the PA. The main press release focused on two stories; the

overwhelming percentage of fans that were in favour of professional

referees and the support shown for Motson.



Paragon arranged a photo shoot for the Press Association with Motson and

the Carling Premiership trophy which was wired out with the PA

story.



For regional media, Paragon produced a club-by-club breakdown of

results.



A syndicated radio news-bite, produced with The Market Tiers, was also

distributed to national and regional radio stations which included a

number of quotes from Flynn.



Results



The release inviting fans to take part in the survey received coverage

in the Express, ten regional dailies and five regional radio

stations.



Its findings appeared in the Sun, the Mirror, the Express, the Sport,

the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and the Independent and 14 regional

dailies.



Features appeared on Radio 2, Radio 4, Radio 5 and 20 regional

stations.



Chrysalis Sport broadcast a feature on its worldwide magazine programme,

Kick. However, Paragon’s plans for more extensive TV coverage were

scuppered by news breaking on football’s ’bung scandal’. Paragon devoted

ten per cent of its budget to research and evaluation of the

campaign.



Verdict



Bass was so pleased with the results it wants to make the CarlingNet

Fans Survey an annual initiative. There will also be a number of one-off

polls on topical issues. Considering the wide range of football

coverage, Paragon should be guaranteed coverage as long as they keep the

questions interesting.



Harry Harris, chief football writer for the Mirror said: ’We get sent a

lot of fan surveys, they can be a bit too conventional, but this was a

success because the items were amusing and off-the-wall.’



Client: Bass Brewers

PR Team: Paragon Communications

Campaign: The CarlingNet Fans Survey

Timescale: August 1997 - January 1998

Budget: pounds 3,000



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