Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Chelsea’s retro 2021/22 football shirt campaign could learn from new Depop fashionistas who influence and engage

Brad Rees, Mediacells CEO, talks us through the latest developments in the club social engagement league.

On the eve of the UK’s biggest post-lockdown crowd-pulling FA Cup final Leicester City had already leapt three places in the Mediacells engagement league Club Social.

And when the Foxes went on to beat Chelsea thanks to Youri Tielemans’ 63rd-minute winner the club had passed Leeds United and Manchester City to enter the Top Five in the engagement table.

Scenes of elation at Wembley contrasted with memes of crestfallen Chelsea fans, who were denied a late equaliser by a VAR review. 

As the global Fan Power narrative continues to develop the Blues and Foxes have different tales to tell around #1 tribal emblem – the football shirt.

In Greg Tesser’s book ‘Chelsea FC in the Swinging ’60s: Football’s First Rock ‘n’ Roll Club‘, he recounts launching the King of Stamford Bridge Peter Osgood’s career alongside Eric Clapton and Georgie Fame. Tesser, Britain’s youngest ever football agent, was so successful in transforming ‘Ossie’ into a swinging sixties Carnaby Street celebrity that Bond girl Raquel Welch and Hollywood A-lister McQueen were allegedly huge fans.

Fast forward fifty years and Chelsea have launched a groovy ad, It’s a Chelsea Thing, released on May 13, to promote their new home kit for the next season, with a social media friendly video campaign created by agencies 20something and Kode Media. The campaign has been amplified across YouTube and the club’s social media channels, including Instagram.

According to Stephen Lepitak in Adweek (May 17) the campaign video attracted 750,000 views, 9,800 retweets and almost 30,000 likes across social media. 

The new Women’s and Men’s kits had their first outings over the weekend, during the FA Cup Champions League finals and Blues fans can enjoy early access from the Official Chelsea Online Store, ahead of the full retail launch on Thursday 20 May.

It’s a Chelsea Thing references what it is to be a fan of a glamorous London club by using a remix of psychedelic classic “Time of the Season,” by The Zombies, whose lead singer’s uncle, Frank Blunstone played for Chelsea in the sixties.

It’s a great piece of polished, well-executed creative – however there is something about the unofficial Admiral approach which perhaps talks more directly to a Gen-Z audience.

Admiral, one of Britain’s oldest sportswear brands, used Leicester’s FA Cup win to connect fans with an organic, unofficial campaign by giving away a 1984 ‘Ind Coope’ Leicester shirt as worn by BBC Sport super-pundit Gary Lineker when he was in the team.

Admiral also used Saturday’s Wembley victory to champion their ongoing relationship with Leicester retailer @wellgosh with the collaborative release of a new t-shirt, the Tiger. 

There is an emerging trend of established brands borrowing from Gen-Z retail influencers playbook, like Isabella Vrana. 

In this month’s Vogue there is a feature on Depop Sellers which focuses on 23-year-old Isabella Vrana, who has sold over 14,000 items of late ’90s, early Noughties vintage pieces. As well as satisfying a younger demographic’s craving for vintage clothing, young pioneers are also influencing what future trends look like due to their huge social media followings; Ms Vrana has a 200k+ hyper-engaged audience.

Isabella Vrana not only engages directly with younger audiences, she influences emerging fashion trends at grassroots level source: Vogue

Admiral could emerge as part of this new old fashion trend, as the lines between football, entertainment, technology, eSports, music and fashion are blurred.

Chelsea meet Leicester again today (Tuesday) in the Premier League where the stakes are high for a 2021/22 Champions League place.


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