UK bookmaker Paddy Power has launched a new sponsor-free kit with Huddersfield Town for the 2019-20 season, after admitting that a previous strip released earlier this week was a “hoax” and a “monstrosity.”
After week of insisting that the new Huddersfield kit would feature a Paddy Power sash from hip to shoulder, the brand has today revealed it was all part of an elaborate “precursor” to its new ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign.
According to an official Paddy Power statement seen by SportBusiness Sponsorship, the ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign is “calling on sponsors to stop bastardising football shirts.
“In an era of multiple brands emblazoned on kit,” the statement reads, “Paddy Power is urging clubs to stop their shirts being treated as billboards.
“This season,” the brand explains, “Paddy Power will sponsor Huddersfield Town by unsponsoring them – relinquishing the front of shirt space they’re entitled to as part of their role as title sponsors.”
Elsewhere the statement claims that by “unsponsoring” Huddersfield Town, Paddy Power is effectively giving the shirt back to the fans.
“As a brand, we always try to be on the side of the fans,” said Michelle Spillane, brand marketing director at Paddy Power.
“We know they love to wear their club colours with pride, but they don’t love being a walking advertising hoarding.
“Which is what Save Our Shirt is all about. At Paddy Power, we know our place as a sponsor – and it’s not on your shirt.”
Until today, major UK news outlets such as the BBC, Sky Sports, TalkSport and The Sun had all fallen for the hoax.
The Football Association, whose rules on shirt branding would have prohibited the original sash design, had also opened an investigation into the breach of shirt regulations at Huddersfield Town.
The ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign was devised in partnership with the VCCP media agency and Octagon sport marketing agency.