We all know the January transfer window is a key time for football clubs. Many areas of the organisation will be under pressure but digital team will feel they have all the scrutiny with the least control.
The last-minute nature of many deals means clubs have the opportunity to create a real cut-through with their content. However, it will be a test of their communications, resources, creativity and ability to execute under pressure.
Having spent most of my career in the Premier League, I decided to look at the major European signings outside the English top flight to see how they were revealed on Twitter, which is still the primary method through which the audience receives the news.
My notes on each are merely initial thoughts. In times of stress, content execution can suffer from a myriad of different influences and I am looking on these at face-value only.
But, of course, that is how the audience receives the content too.
* See advisory below.
Olympique Marseille - Dimitri Payet
Notes: This was my favourite execution. It was simple, quick and full of energy. It might be a little flashy while, for other teams, it would jar with their brand. However this was about impact – an emoji to start, minimal text and let your visuals do the work.
PSG – Julien Draxler
Notes: Did not like the introduction picture. Far too static with the Eiffel Tower emerging from the top of the shirt.
The bio was nice enough but the size of the captions are a problem. They are covered by temporary overlay of the player (play button, volume, etc) when held at landscape. Even when they are exposed it is hard to read. Perhaps this is content created for a different medium. However, these days, playing out of a tweet or, more likely, a Facebook post will garner the most exposure.
Olympique Lyonnais – Memphis Depay
Notes: The human reactions were nice but this seemed an uninspired way to announce a major signing. Shirt reveals on camera phones, even without the benefit of a stabiliser, are engaging enough if they are live. However the standards have moved on for produced content.
On the flipside, Lyon do possess one of the funkiest goal gifs around. Love it.
Juventus – Tomas Rincon
Notes: The graphic has a certain rationale. Depending on your viewpoint it is purposefully and stylishly uncluttered or just basic. Given the quality of Juve’s overall digital offering, it would seem to be the former and it works.
Love the autograph picture with ‘the General’ saluting. The expression on his face is perfect for his persona.
Borussia Dortmund - Alexandr Isik
Notes: This was a little too homespun for me. An off-centre shot with the front office and video shot from a distance of Isak running amid a group of players. It did not add to the excitement.
Sevilla - Stevan Jovetic
Notes: Sevilla were the only club to go for the medical shot. What it loses in the aesthetic it gains in the authentic. They continued in that vein with behind-the-scenes shots of the photocall on the pitch using, it appears, a phone. If you are going to do that then shoot it live via Periscope, Instagram or Facebook. It reduces the importance of artistic camerawork while ramping up the authenticity. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is a way to win if resources are tight.
Bayer Leverkusen – Leon Bailey
Notes: A regulation but well-produced, smiles'n'shirt shot with a graphic that emphasises the key word so it can be seen on all devices. Flag emoji will catch the eye too.
They also got the contract signing shot. Either this was the actual moment he put pen to paper or they staged it authentically. This was standard procedure but executed well.
* Do you have any other examples from the most recent transfer window? Let me know in the comments.
* Advisory: This is not a scientific study. The rationale was to take some of the biggest transfers of the January window and examine how they were announced on Twitter. The 'reveal' tweet and a couple more. Plenty of engaging content may have been produced afterwards but this was about first impressions. They count.