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Why is this work relevant for PR?

Despite record-breaking figures, homelessness was an issue that was largely invisible to the public. This campaign for leading housing charity, Shelter, used football’s most visible asset to put the spotlight on homelessness and create lasting change.

Thanks to a simple, accessible core idea, #NoHomeKit established a new annual event that co-opts football’s unique relationship with “home” to create debate and inspire action in an army of new supporters. The result was a string of mainstream media moments for Shelter, collective action against homelessness and a revitalised willingness to support the cause from the general public.


Shelter is the leading housing charity in the UK. At the beginning of 2021, Shelter’s services were more in demand than ever. Over the previous 18 months, homelessness had become a national housing emergency with over 180,000 households losing their homes.

With the majority of these newly homeless people sofa-surfing or moving to overcrowded, temporary accommodation, homelessness had morphed into an urgent but largely invisible crisis.

As a result, the housing emergency was failing to break into public consciousness, meaning Shelter wasn’t attracting the new supporters they needed to help fight this growing crisis. It was our task to make the invisible, visible, and build an army to help Shelter fight its cause.

All of which meant our campaign needed to:

- Reach new audiences beyond Shelter’s usual supporter base

- Turn an invisible crisis into a visible fight through collective action

- Increase support amongst general public

Describe the creative idea

This attachment to “home” that keeps fans coming back to football is especially prominent over Christmas.The Boxing Day fixtures are a long-standing British tradition, where families pack out stadiums wearing replica kits.

So for the Boxing Day fixtures, we launched #NoHomeKit, a new annual event which asks the football community to make a simple change: swap your home kit for an away one and support the homeless.

By changing the meaning of something everyone already owned, rather than introducing something new, we created a campaign that was uniquely accessible. Clubs could take part at no cost, brands could make it their own and fans could easily show their support. All of which would lead to infiltration of hundreds of events around the country as clubs and fans made a simple change to support Shelter.

Describe the PR strategy

Our research showed that fans didn’t have homelessness on their radar. We also knew that Shelter's voice wasn’t loud enough to have the impact we needed. So our first job was to tap into the influence of prominent voices within the game to raise the alarm about the housing crisis.

Once the football community understood the scale of the problem, #NoHomeKit would put the solution in their hands. We’d release a campaign film alongside homelessness statistics tied to football vernacular, both of which would give the media messages to rally around.

The football news cycle moves at an unforgiving rate, so throughout this period we also needed to engineer stand out moments that would get attention.

The cumulative effect of this approach would be widespread support on Boxing Day: more clubs wearing #NoHomeKit and more fans following suit, changing their habits as a sign of support.

Describe the PR execution

Before the campaign launched, we met with decision-makers across football to garner support. This meant that when #NoHome Kit did launch, football was ready to take action.

The news of the Premier League declining to support kickstarted a string of mainstream media moments and galvanised large sections of football. What followed was a very public debate on the scale of the housing crisis across all major news outlets, with outspoken pundit Gary Neville adding his voice to the cause.

With fans sufficiently aware of the scale of the housing crisis, it was time to unleash the partnerships we’d been building all year. Across a 3-4 week period, clubs, celebrities and brands lined up to tell fans how they could fight homelessness this Boxing Day.

All of which led up to the Boxing Day fixtures, where we amplified the pockets of activity happening at grounds across the country.

List the results

Around 260 clubs took part in #NoHomeKit, playing in front of 240k+ fans, with millions more watching from home.

Celebrity fans added to the 10,000s of people ditching their home kits for the occasion, at games and online.

Major brands like PUMA, talkSport and Mitre created one-off activations. And with 800+ pieces of coverage and 100k+ social mentions, we had a total reach of 1.4bn+.

All of which resulted in a 50% annual rise in the amount of positive conversation about Shelter, with consideration to support the cause rising 10%, when support for charities generally was falling.

Although fundraising was not our main objective, Shelter still saw a £500k+ uplift in donations during the campaign period.

But our best measure of success is the willingness of the football community to come together again next year to make fighting homelessness an annual event, preventing it from fading from public consciousness.

Please tell us about the social behaviour that inspired the work

To hit our objectives, we needed a cultural ally that delivered salience and community. Football is Britain’s most popular sport with 18m followers, many of whom love the community it provides. But more importantly, football, like Shelter, reveres the idea of ‘home’.

Home end. Home team. Home fans. “Home” is everywhere in football, giving fans a sense of identity.

Wearing the home kit of their favoured club is the ultimate demonstration of this identity, a fan behaviour that signals their allegiances to others.

The colours of these home kits are almost sacred, tied as they are to football’s relationship with “home”. For example, Tottenham Hotspur first wore white in 1898. Since then, white kits are something every single Tottenham fan has in common.

By subverting this much-loved aspect of fan behaviour, we could create an unmissable impact in the game that would remind our audience of the importance of “home”.

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