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Making Football History with Shelter’s #NoHomeKit Campaign

Trends and Insight 146 Add to collection

Dark Horses' Sean Johnson and Josh Pearce on getting football fans engaged on Boxing Day 2021

Making Football History with Shelter’s #NoHomeKit Campaign

In a footballing first, almost 100 clubs from across the English and Welsh leagues – including Portsmouth, Salford City, Sheffield United and Cardiff - signed up to ditch their home shirts on Boxing Day 2021 for Shelter’s #NoHomeKit campaign created with Dark Horses.

Creatives behind the campaign Sean Johnson and Josh Pearce discuss the project below.


Q> The idea literally makes history - where did it come from? 

A> We were given the brief in January last year, when we were still livin' la vida loca in lockdown. Luckily, we only live around the corner from each other, so we went for a silly little walk around the park and began rattling out as many silly little ideas as we could. Most of them were absolutely terrible, but thankfully we had a flash of inspiration. 

We wanted an idea that was a simple gesture that could become an annual tradition, that anyone at any level of football could take part in - from fans to the clubs themselves. So we thought why not get everyone to ditch their home shirts as an act of solidarity for those with no safe place to call home. This was quickly followed by a simple bit of language that clearly explained the idea, aka #NoHomeKit. 


Q> Did you have any reservations at first? 

A> When we're excited about an idea, the first thing we tend to do is Google it to make sure no pesky agency has done it before, so we're not faced with a feeling of shattering disappointment and a swift return back to the drawing board. 

When we realised no one had, we were then faced with the enormity of the challenge ahead. Having worked with the Premier League before at a previous agency, we knew they were a tricky bunch. But that didn't stop the team at Dark Horses presenting the idea hundreds of times to different stakeholders at different clubs and organisations. Every week more and more clubs, sponsors and people in the world of football wanted to get involved.


Q> What were the biggest challenges about getting the campaign made?

A> The Premier League throwing the rule book at us was obviously a huge disappointment, especially as a lot of its clubs wanted to show their support. But in many ways this wasn't a bad thing. We received a huge amount of PR and the Premier League's decision to prevent its teams getting involved, galvanised football fans and organisations across the nation – suddenly #NoHomeKit was on everyone's radar and helped us gather even more support. 

We were also very lucky that some of the Premier League clubs that wanted to get involved still did, with the Spurs players wearing their third-kit to warm up before the game. 


Q> How important was it to get football fans engaged? 

A> Fans were not only engaging with the cause on social media, but were keen to get involved. This groundswell of conversation was soon followed by a 60-second campaign film that showed fans exactly how they could show their support. 

We soon began to see over 200 teams tweeting to announce they would be taking part in #NoHomeKit, which led to even more fans getting involved to the point where we were trending on Boxing Day. 


Q> What was it like to see the campaign come to life on Boxing day - and were you stressed about the number of games being postponed due to covid? 

A> Your friend and mine, COVID-19, made everything that little more stressful. A number of our more high-profile fixtures, featuring teams who were ditching their home shirts, were postponed. This somewhat dampened proceedings and reduced the campaign’s exposure. Unfortunately we didn’t have the budget to develop a cure to eradicate the virus, but we did have a hunch there might be disruption, especially after COVID dropped its third studio album, Omicron. 


Q> Was there a back-up plan? 

A> Our back-up plan was to create a social challenge that asked fans to share a picture of them in their favourite away/third strip on their socials, donate to Shelter and nominate their friends to do the same. This allowed people who couldn't attend the games to do their bit and show their support. We had a huge amount of people get involved including Mel C, Sara Cox, Peter Crouch, and Sadiq Khan to name a few. 


Q> Did you anticipate the media and fan reaction to the campaign?

A> We're not naive, we knew that the first year of this campaign might only see a few teams and a small number of fans get involved – but we were blown away by the support it received and we can't wait to see how we can build on it for next year.

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Lucky Generals, Wed, 12 Jan 2022 13:33:00 GMT