Y&R keeps it tight at the back in Premier League debut

Y&R London is making its eagerly-waited debut for the UK’s Premier League (now a worldwide force in football) with a new campaign showcasing its Premier League Primary Stars community programme.

The free curriculum-linked teaching resource for parents, teachers and pupils aged 5-11 features footballers including Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Chelsea’s Gary Cahill, Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier, Liverpool’s Sadio Mané, Manchester United’s Juan Mata and and Arsenal’s Theo Walcott. The players join primary school children in their classrooms proposing that learning alongside football can be fun, to the words of TH Palmer’s poem ‘Try, Try Again.’

Man U manager Jose Mourinho rings the school bell. Well he would, wouldn’t he?

Premier League managing director Richard Masters says: “The campaign highlights the vast amount of work being delivered by professional football clubs in their local communities. Our goal is to connect the Premier League to the heart of the community, namely families and schools, to promote learning and fitness to children and tangibly demonstrate the benefits of football in all aspects of life.”

Y&R London CEO Jon Sharpe says: “Y&R London is delighted to launch the Premier League’s inaugural integrated advertising campaign after winning the business in a hard-fought pitch last year. The campaign emotively highlights the key role the Premier League plays in communities across Britain and the transformative power of their Primary Stars initiative.”

This would have been a tricky task all round. It’s easy to be cynical about the moneybags of the Premier League so this debut campaign from Y&R is a classic case of trying not to drop the ball. Director Vince Squibb of Gorgeous does a good job in stitching it all together (there probably wasn’t the opportunity for too many takes). And footballers, with the exception of Theo Walcott (who’s a master) are usually pretty wooden. Liverpool’s Sadio Mané looks a natural too.

In a way this is publicity/PR not advertising but the last thing the purportedly community-minded Premier League required was a muscle-bound blast à la Nike.

MAA creative scale: 7.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.