Cannes Lions


FRANK PR, London / PADDY POWER / 2014

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In August 2013 and in a sponsorship first, Paddy Power ensured Messi, Beckham and Gascoigne signed for Farnborough FC as created "by far the greatest team, the world has ever seen."

With Paddy Power making their first foray into football sponsorship, our idea had to deliver against the following objectives;

• Create and promote Paddy Power's first official football sponsorship, but with a twist.

• Be local but go global, aligning with Paddy Power's business growth ambitions.

• Spark debate about sports sponsorship as a whole.

• Incorporate Paddy Power's brand position as a mischief-maker!

Armed with deed poll papers, Farnborough FC became all-stars overnight – with all the players and staff legally changing their names to those of football greats, past and present. In return, Paddy Power became Farnborough's chief sponsor – saving the financially stricken club from insolvency and creating the most unique sponsorship agreement of all time.

The deal did not just provide finance to the club, it re-wrote the rulebook on club sponsorship. Every brand is capable of branding shirts and stadiums, but nobody has demonstrated this level of creativity. Crucially, both parties achieved against objectives. Farnborough FC were saved and propelled to global fame, Paddy Power established themselves as sponsorship innovators at their first attempt.

Innovative, bold and skilfully executed, news of the sponsorship travelled globally. 407 pieces of international coverage, backed up by a tremendous social impact had fans and media unite in praising and debating the idea.



• The staff of Farnborough FC became valuable media assets. Interviews with David Beckham (Scott Donnelly) and Jose Mourinho (Spencer Day) were heard on high profile media like TalkSport, BBC 5 Live and Sky Sports.


• Video content was produced and served multiple purposes. Hosted on Paddy Power's YouTube channel, this provided media with engaging, branded video content, whilst also serving to provide an easily sharable link for social media.


• Branded imagery was captured to visualise the sponsorship agreement. As well as traditional 'team shots', images portraying the players recreating famous moments from their namesakes' careers were also set up - ensuring that the fun, creative story was amplified and appealing to media.

Fanning Flames

• With the Conference's disapproval eventually manifesting into legal threats, reactionary statements were also prepared and issued to media. Defending Farnborough and berating the establishment, this conveyed Paddy Power's anti-authority stance.



• 407 pieces of earned media.

• Two full-page stories in the Daily Star and Daily Mirror, 29 broadcast pieces including Sky Sports News, Daybreak and BBC Radio 5 Live and 68 online pieces.

• 307 pieces originated from international sources ranging from the USA, Netherlands, France, Canada, Australia and more. (This was particularly pleasing for Paddy Power in relation to the company's overall growth ambitions.)

Social media:

• Over 2,000 tweets around launch mentioning both "Paddy Power" and "Farnborough" reached an audience of 1,700,000, while Farnborough FC's own social media profile grew significantly.

• 901 tweets mentioned Farnborough FC in August, compared with only 40 in July. Again, the desired international impact was seen here with a third of the tweets coming from oversees.

• On Facebook, over 2,200 fans engaged with posts relating to Farnborough FC and over 300 fans shared the content on their own profile.

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