Hurrah, the Football League finally has an “Official Pizza partner”!

18 07 2013

Until this week football fans were denied the dignity and kudos of an “Official Pizza Partner“, thankfully this horrible situation has ended!!!!  The greatness doesn’t end there, just look at the club they chose to help publicise the ground-breaking partnership!!!

papajohnsfl-campaign-2013_46_460

This partnership is simply fantastic, it not only provided the two things that fans really need – more overpriced food and flat boxes that can be thrown at penalty takers like frisbees – it also provided the two things that British football really needs – more corporate bullshit and a connection with a businessman that threatened to sack people because a politician wanted to provide more healthcare for his countrymen.

Now that they’re an “Official Partner Of The Football” papa john’s have entered the wonderful milleu of corporate football  They must be ecstatic to be in the company of businesses like….

Tottenham’s “Official Credit Card partner”……mbna!!!!

Arsenal’s “Official White Goods Partner”……indesit!!!!

The “Official Cutting Implement With a Retractable Blade Partner” of Liverpool and Fulham .……stanley!!!!

The premier league’s “Official Letters and Numbers Partner”……sporting id!!!!

Manchester City’s “Official Timing Partner”……richard mille!!!!

Everton’s “Official Ginger Beer Partner”……crabbie’s!!!!

Manchester United’s  “Official Noodles Partner for Asia, Oceania and Middle East”……namee!!!!

Chelsea’s  “Official Global F1 Partner”……sauber f1!!!!

Chelsea’s “Official Global Energy Partner”……gazprom!!!!

The noxious effect of corporate ideals on football is evident here, phrases of pure corporate bullshit – “Partners”, “Technical Partners”, “Secondary Ticketing Partners” – have replaced humble phrases – “Sponsors “, “Kit suppliers”,  “Legalised Ticket Touts”. My sources tell me that Sepp Blatter runs seminars entitled “The Destruction of Language – Double-Plus Good!!!” and that FIFA’s dictionaries have halved in size since 1988.

When you look in to this subject the rule of thumb is easily visible; the bigger the club the more ludicrous the partnership. I thought that I’d heard every possible football-related phrase then along comes “Official Noodles Partner for Asia, Oceania and Middle East”.

Partners? “Partners” is it?

Partner” is an interesting word to choose for the relationship between business and football but the purpose of corporate language is choosing interesting words to highlight a parallel society from our reality.

Firstly, the use of “Partner” gives the illusion that companies possess magical transformative powers, and are therefore fantastic for society. Secondly, there’s the implication of “a relationship of equals” rather than “a business using football for a bit of reflected glory”. Lastly, it can imply that morally suspect businesses actually own ideas – “Manchester City’s Football in the Community Scheme brought to you by Monty Burns’ Chemical Weapons”. We shouldn’t really be surprised as the corporate way is to try and offset a negative public image by chucking money at something.

We can see the creation of a parallel society in the descriptions used, look at how tight bonds are created between unconnected things, see how the bold words are pure corporate bullshit;

“The unique partnership between Chelsea FC and Sauber F1 Team forges a relationship between two internationally successful teams with fantastic heritage who share the same excitement and passion for performance, bringing unique content and experiences to football and F1 fans.”

“Chelsea FC chief executive Ron Gourlay said: ‘This is another very exciting global partnership for the club, and demonstrates the ever-growing appeal of Chelsea FC……………………As a global supplier of energy with a commitment to the environment and social responsibility, Gazprom is a perfect match for the club.”

This also happens at a more prosaic level;

 “As the official Ginger Beer of Everton Football Club we wish every success to the Club and for Crabbie’s in the season ahead.”

The last example highlights the inherent bullshit of corporate language. Public statements always tell us how much companies care about people even when their behaviour makes it quite obvious they don’t care. If Crabbie’s weren’t “the official Ginger Beer of Everton Football Club” would they care if Everton are relegated? Corporate football produces some of the most pointless football-related sentences you’ll ever see.

I read all the bullshit and I wonder if the clubs and their glorious partners actually read the statements they issue. If they do how do they expect us to swallow the bullshit? How exactly do Indesit and Arsenal share mutual values? How exactly is Gazprom a perfect match for Chelsea? How exactly are “EA SPORTS™ going to play a part in creating “exciting fan experiences” at Arsenal? Do these companies think that people are stupid enough to unquestioningly accept what they say because they’re connected to “the football”?

Corporate language is usually used to camouflage the real purpose of partnerships, the desire to make money, but sometimes they are so anxious to sell something they forget to apply the camouflage;

EA SPORTS™ is Arsenal’s Official Gaming Partner with a key focus of the partnership being exciting content pieces and fan experiences on offer……………..Arsenal fans should keep an eye out on match days for the EA SPORTS Dugout which gives fans the chance to play EA SPORTS games at Emirates Stadium in the build up to the game.”

“Furthermore, Arsenal is synonymous with an attractive style of play, a youthful team, innovation, tradition and winning. Indesit’s mutual values translate to its brand’s essence of Genuine Efficiency……………………Throughout the season Indesit share in the joy of Arsenal’s success on the pitch and they’re also planning exciting experiences to share with their community and Arsenal fans. Stay tuned!”

If you read the right publications the real purpose of partnerships is nakedly evident;

“Gallagher adds: “Key to this deal is that it gives us access to many local clubs. We’re not as big as Domino’s and Pizza Hut, but we have an aggressive store expansion strategy to grow fast. There are many clubs near our stores and our strategy is focused around tapping into fans support for their local teams.

“We’re going to be working with the clubs alongside our franchise partners to understand what works for their fans and how we can get involved in that relationship. It’s not about attaching ourselves to some big name club, this is about building awareness at a grassroots level and getting people to taste our products.”

Papa John’s is using the tie-up as the main vehicle for developing the brand, however, it still plans to run non-football related campaigns to support upcoming initiatives. It is hoped the increased visibility will tempt potential investors and lead to more store openings near League clubs as it looks to steal share from Domino’s and Pizza Hut.

The deal is the latest in the League’s bid to grow commercial revenues, but still leaves it without a title sponsor just weeks before the start of the season.Talks are with potential partners are still ongoing according to the League, although it is thought they are close to announcing a partner.”

Two ideas are reinforced by all this; the companies involved are really quite shameless and corporate football really is a load of depressing old bollocks.

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