I’m not a football fan but I am fanatical about brands, so when news of a major new sponsorship deal is announced involving one of the world’s biggest football clubs, it has my undivided attention.
But I’ve been left scratching my head, wondering if this is a modern day case of the emperor’s new clothes: FC Barcelona has signed a deal to have a company’s logo on the inside of their shirts.
Yep, you read it right: inside their shirts.
It’s been heralded as “pioneering” a new ad location for football shirt sponsorship because, get this, Intel processors are found inside PCs – so why shouldn’t their logo be inside as well?
I get how the marketing bods at the Catalan club and Intel are spinning it: that it’s all about what’s inside. But that’s absolutely no good if you can’t see it from the outside.
If Lincoln City announced a similar sponsorship deal, you’d check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fools’ Day.
Surely the whole point of shirt sponsorship is that a brand is emblazoned all over the front of a shirt, so that audiences around the world can see their football players wearing the logo?
As the logo is upside down, I’m guessing the club is hoping to exploit the all too common situation in modern football where players run up to a TV camera after scoring a goal and lift up their shirts.
That relies on the team scoring a lot of goals, and I’m reliably informed that the La Liga club is good at that.
But, realistically, that relies on the club scoring as often as possible and ensuring that all the players seek out the TV cameras after each goal.
I suppose this makes some sense, but this is still at odds with everything I know to be true about marketing, design, sponsorship and promoting brands.
Please tell me that there are people who can’t see the emperor’s new Barcelona football shirt either.