Home of Football/
For Football’s Sake
Campaign analysis and recommendations
Section A: ……………………………………………………………………………….3
Overview of the campaign ……………………………………………………3
Analysis of campaign aims and objectives ………………………………..3
Analysis of campaign message/call to action …………………………….4
Analysis of stakeholders, publics and audiences ………………………..4
Analysis of campaign strategy……………………………………………….5
Analysis of campaign channels and tactics ……………………………….5
Section B: ……………………………………………………………………………….6
Strategic recommendations based on the above analysis …………….6
“FOR F@*%# SAKE”
Football West’s campaign to build a central training and administration
Overview of the campaign
Football West is an independent sport organisation representing, supporting and promoting
football (soccer) in Western Australia since 2004. The organisation is split between two
physical sites, which are poorly serviced for the sports requirements. Their campaign goal
is to achieve $20 million in local government funding for a “Home of football”. While the
“Home of football” goal has been ongoing since 2011, this current campaign “For football’s
sake” is far more focused and bigger than has been tried previously.
The basis of the campaign revolves around an online petition to the four major political
parties in WA. Launched a month before the state elections it aimed to capitalise on the
parties fight for votes and the increased media coverage. The petition is located at
www.homeoffootball.com.au which briefly outlines the goal and provides a form to submit a
petition. Traffic is driven to this website by a viral video, featuring famous football players
and media personalities.
Additional media presentations by Perth Glory, the states A-League football team, were also
focused on driving publics to the Home of Football petition. Alongside the public support,
there were also direct personal communications by Football West’s chairperson and CEO to
Analysis of campaign aims and objectives
Previous campaigns to gain funding from sports and government bodies have never
engaged the fans of the game quite like this campaign.
With the launch, a month prior to the state elections, the aim was to create enough public
support to push the parties to publically state, as part of their election pledges, to commit
to Football West’s headquarters and training ground build. There were 2000 petitions
within the first 24 hours of the campaign launch, and by election day there were over
10,000 petitions submitted. While there was no specific petition numbers aimed for,
10,000 is clearly an influential number. However, a week out from election day the
political parties only offered “support” of the campaign (Stirling Times Feb 26. 2013).
The timing of this campaign required the issue of the Football West sports headquarters to
be a key topic during the election. With the states infrastructure build currently in
progress and planned for the future (http://getthebiggerpicture.wa.gov.au/), it was
perhaps hopeful this issue would become a key topic. As it eventuated the riverside
development and the metro rail lines became the election infrastructure hot topics
Analysis of campaign message/call to action
The “Home of Football” slogan provides a succinct message, supporting the call to provide
funding for a development headquarters. Retaining this slogan reinforces a consistent
message, even though the campaign methods and the details of size, cost and location
have changed since the original launch. Consistency has been shown to strengthen
awareness as campaigns change (Navarro-Bailón 2012).
The current campaign message was “For football’s sake”, clearly a play on “For fuck’s
sake”. This was spelt out at the very start of the campaign, with the initial email titled
“FOR F@*%# SAKE: JOIN THE CAMPAIGN” and the first sentence bleeped as Bobby
Despotovski says “football”. This would have likely created some controversy. While Perth
Glory fans are accustomed to this kind of language at their matches, not all football fans
would have found this appropriate. The initial email was quickly followed up the same day
with another email titled, “FOOTBALL IS NOT A DIRTY WORD”, with a link to the non
bleeped version, perhaps to offset any aggravation the first caused or to create a stir that
would gain publicity. Suggesting football is a dirty word could have stirred fans loyalty and
support the campaign.
While the controversy didn’t appear to gain traditional media attention, it did gain online
attention. Viewing the statistics of the two videos on YouTube, the controversial video was
only on the Home of Football website for one day while the normal version has been on
there since. Both videos have around the same number of views (~2500), which indicates
the controversial video has been shared by users more than the clean version. Outrageous
triggers encourage people to share (Meerman 2011, 100-101), and this viral form of
sharing, a kind of online word of mouth, is ideal for gaining additional support (Brown,
Broderick and Lee 2007). Interestingly, the clean version had women 45-54 as one of the
high demographics, whereas the other video only had males in the top demographics.
The emails and media stories all direct users to sign an online petition on the Home of
Football website, which is sent to all four political parties. All communications indicate this
is the purpose of users going to the website – this was consistent even in offline media
coverage. A clear and consistent call to action was a benefit to the campaign (Theaker
Analysis of stakeholders, publics and audiences
The stakeholders of this campaign are Football West and its members, Perth Glory and their
sponsors, the Football Federation Australia, and also Football West’s sponsorship partners.
Their platinum partners are the State Government Department of Sport and Recreation and
Healthway, again funded by the State Government. As Football West receive the largest
part of their funding from these organisations they had to be careful not to alienate the
government with their campaign. As well as being stakeholders, the members of Football
West are also it’s publics, as are Perth Glory fans. These publics make up the majority of
the potential supporters of this campaign. However, it emerged there was unexpected
celebrity support from the likes of Robbie Fowler and Les Murray via social media, helping
further promote the campaign. This demonstrates how social media breaks down location
boundaries and allows publics to be reached beyond what is initially envisaged (Munro and
The campaign has two distinct audiences, football fans and the political parties. The
campaign nicely brings together both using quite different approaches. The videos would
not be at all suitable to influence the political parties, but ideal to encourage football fans
to join the campaign. The campaign communicates with the politicians by firstly using the
public petition, but also letters from the CEO and chairperson of Football West, and the
chairman of the Football Federation Australia. Additionally they gained positive local and
statewide press coverage.
Analysis of campaign strategy
The campaign strategy of influencing the government to fund $20 million to build a Home
of Football is sound and stays consistent with Football West’s long term goal. Football
West observed other major sports in WA have received funding through state government,
providing facilities and development funds. As football has the highest participation as a
team sport in WA, using the sports fan base to reach the government was utilising one of
Football West’s biggest assets. Focusing the campaign online, and directing all traffic to
one website ensured a cost effective and easily scalable result.
Analysis of campaign channels and tactics
The campaign utilised YouTube videos and a simple website at its core; these are suitable
channels considering Football West already have a 30,000 strong email subscriber list from
37,000 registered members. Football West could be assured they would have a substantial
audience to communicate to. A day prior to the email, they launched the “For football’s
sake” campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Both of these social media services are
maintained regularly to inform their publics, therefore, launching on social media was
natural. The campaign garnered much of the unexpected celebrity support from those who
followed Football West on social media.
Email subscription lists can often become stale (iContact), by using “FOR F@*%# SAKE:
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN”, this would have very likely broken through some of that staleness as
it was so out of the ordinary.
With the traditional media, they were able to engage TV channels ABC, 9, 10 and Fox
Sports, inviting them to a special Perth Glory training session where the team signed the
online petition in front of the cameras. Online media channels such as Sportal and
fourfourtwo.com covered the campaign, as well as offline news media the West Australian,
whom they have a media partner relationship. The website creators Bam Creative also
have a partner relationship. Football West would have been able to create this campaign
with very little additional cost to the organisation due to the use of existing staff, online
media and partners.
The petition channel to the politicians was most suitable as a democratic influencer, but it
was also backed up with CEO and chairperson personal communication to reinforce the
message. Additionally the parties were contacted to ensure the petitions were being
received and the campaign was on their radar. An observed issue was only that Peter
Hugg, CEO of Football West sometimes went off message in interviews; as an example,
when the money being requested goes from $20 million to $25 million, it can appear as if
the plan isn’t thought through completely and a loss of credibility ensues. All other
channels remained consistent.
Strategic recommendations based on the above analysis
The strategy of engaging the football community to influence the government was and is a
sensible one. The message to the fans was engaging and clear; this paid off in high
numbers of support. However, targeting the government with the message that “football
needs a home” in an environment where infrastructure spend is considered high, especially
with the wider public, perhaps the message could have been different. WA is the gateway
to Asia, however, our State is missing out on the Asia Cup. The eastern states are
receiving this fast growing sports competition, and the associated income. The argument
that WA is lagging behind eastern states, and other Asian countries, is possibly a better
way to influence the WA Government.
While the campaign engaged large numbers of the WA football community, it could have
perhaps reached further in to that community. For example, contacting all the local soccer
associations and clubs with a short message or media release that they could put on their
Facebook or websites, or even as part of any regular email newsletter. However, the
attention grabbing swear word version would not be suitable as it could deter parents and
members of junior football teams. On the Home of Football website there could have been
a link or code to allow visitors who have the ability to either forward or embed this content
(Weaver and Morrison 2008). Becoming fans of football communities blogs and social
media pages would allow Football West to monitor and respond to any questions or
misinformation, however, care must be taken especially when interacting with other
communities (Carter 2012).
After the petition is submitted it shows links to view the Football West Facebook or Twitter
page, this is a wasted opportunity. At this point it is clear the user is fully engaged and
supporting the campaign. If there is a link to Like the Home of Football Petition the
campaign will spread to the users Facebook contacts, some who will have not been reached
by other means. Even those who have already seen the campaign message will likely be
encouraged to sign the petition if they see one of their peers has already signed it, this
“weight of trust” (Lutz 2009) is very powerful. A specific call to action to Like the petition
so more signatures can be gained will make sense to the visitors.
In summary, if Football West can get more involved in other online football communities,
rather than broadcasting to them via email, and if the existing social media community can
be moblised and engaged in a two-way dialogue (McLennan and Howell 2010) there will be
even greater success in the future, and football will finally gain a home.
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