Wieden+Kennedy sets out to win the World Cup for England

Advertising a football team or, indeed, any sports team, is a potential nightmare: what if they don’t do very well?

Which will be on the mind of Wieden+Kennedy as the agency takes on the UK’s Football Association, specifically the England men’s team as it prepares to compete at the FIFA World Cup next year in Russia. Or will do if Vladimir Putin chooses not to invade one of his neighbours in the interim.

Nobody thinks they’re going to win; manager Gareth Southgate said the other day that of course they were going to try. Which hardly exudes confidence.

Back in the day Simons Palmer produced what’s still probably the best football ad, a poster for Nike at Euro 96 which was held in England (at which England did pretty well until poor Gareth Southgate missed a penalty).

Only trouble was, the French didn’t pick bad boy Cantona.

The FA, often described as a sclerotic organisation, at least has a sensible and seasoned client in CEO Martin Glenn, of Walkers fame.

But it’s a big challenge for W+K although it will no doubt do its damnedest to rise to it. The agency also recently won Formula 1, beginning with a design rebrand aimed at positioning the over-hyped “competition” (it’s not actually that competitive) as an entertainment brand.

Not easy either although a sign of an agency on the up.

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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.

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