On the ball

The current issue of PR Week has a fascinating case study featuring My Blood is Black,   a campaign in Brazil which used football to raise awareness of the need for more blood donors. The Hemoba Blood Collection Centre worked in partnership with Esporte Club Vitoria, one of Brazil’s leading club sides.

The club has traditionally played in red and black hooped shirts. At the beginning of the campaign the red hoops were changed to white, with the red gradually coming back into the shirt throughout the season as the level of blood donations rose. The campaign was a huge success, increasing donation levels by an impressive 46 per cent.

In England’s Premiership we have seen examples this season of clubs alienating supporters by changing their shirt colour, or even the club name, for purely commercial reasons. However, some clubs do take their responsibility to the wider community seriously and are willing to work with local authorities and voluntary organisations on a wide range of projects.

For example, Everton are working with Mersey Care NHS Trust to tackle dementia with a project called Pass on the Memories.  The idea is to get people at risk from dementia to share their memories of Everton games and players of yesteryear.

Just this week Scottish Premiership club Partick Thistle have launched a new partnership with the Breast Cancer Care charity. The scheme aims to raise £38k per year for the charity through business sponsorship of the seats in the technical areas (or “dugouts” for those of us over 40) at the club’s Firhill stadium.

Like bankers and politicians, football clubs often have a not entirely undeserved reputation for being super rich and therefore out of touch with the lives of ordinary people. However, those of us who work in communications for public sector bodies should remember that many clubs are aware of their need to be socially responsible. Football continues to enjoy a high media profile and partnering with your local club can be a great way of getting your message out there.

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