Pick of the Week: Paddy Power's unbranding exercise is on the money

By subverting a norm, the bookmaker has ensured that the absence of a logo on a football shirt will be forever associated with its brand.

Football shirts used to look cool when they were adorned with legendary brands like Brother, McEwan’s lager, Commodore International and of course the mighty Sheffield Wednesday’s very own Sanderson software, with its Netherlands flag-meets-burger emoji logo. 

But I’m not alone in finding the array of Chinese-facing gambling brands plastered all over today’s kits a constant reminder of the grim priorities of today’s game. 

So I applaud Paddy Power’s opportunistic but extremely positive move to wipe away those crass signifiers of the worst of global capitalism in favour of the simple elegance of uninterrupted blue and white stripes (in the case of Huddersfield Town, the biggest of the five clubs Paddy Power is sponsoring this season). 

After a PR campaign full of the brand’s signature misdirection, it has now released a TV ad full of smart visual gags at the expense of football’s "walking billboards" – though I must admit I’d quite happily sport one of those white tops sponsored by Mr Softy.

Will the idea catch on among other sponsors? Not a chance: anyone else trying to take the high ground with an unbranded shirt will effectively be buying advertising for Paddy Power. But if the move helps clubs and brands start to recognise the negative effects that excess commercialism can have on football, that can only be a good thing.

Brand Paddy Power
Title Save our shirt
Agency VCCP and Octagon
Creatives Chris Willis, Paul Kocur and Josh Green
Production company Academy
Director Peter Cattaneo

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