Diary: Speaker's Corner

"What a waste of money," the mocking fans chant when the opposing team's multimillion-pound star striker belts the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy, more in the manner of a Hackney Marshes donkey than a Premier League thoroughbred.

Not nearly as big a waste, though, as the amounts I see wasted every week by brands in their rush to show their footballing credentials. The fact is brand values are being debased and football fans left bewildered by seemingly conflicting messages vying for their attention.

Take Coca-Cola. I'm shocked to see how the company has allowed its famous red-and-white logo to be bastardised in the Coca-Cola Championship. What justification can there be for it appearing in the colours of the home team in perimeter and other logo advertising? I can only assume the strategy was rationalised to the client as demonstrating that the Coke logo could work in all colours for all fans to identify with whatever their loyalties.

What's been forgotten is that the original colours were chosen for their simplicity and strength and to vary them for such an obtuse reason is simply not justified and doesn't work.

To see why, you only have to look at Coke's perimeter advertising transposed into the colours of Leeds United; yellow script on a white background on a perimeter board at Elland Road, which appeared blank on our TV screens.

What a waste of money, indeed.

Then there's the matter of brand recognition and loyalty, both of which are getting lost in the clamour for attention. Surely the Premier League can't have failed to spot the conflict issue created by Arsenal's stadium sponsorship deal with Emirates while Chelsea currently sport the "Fly Emirates" slogan on their shirts. At the same time, all the referees in the major leagues are wearing a similar slogan on sleeve patches.

I believe any form of joint brand identification between a team and a referee, however subliminal, amounts to a conflict of interest. After all, aren't refs supposed to be impartial?

- Got an axe to grind? E-mail us at campaign@haynet.com.


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