With so much anticipation about the way the newly independent A-League will choose to market itself and attempt to improve on campaigns of the past, the first teaser for season 2019-20 has appeared.
I liked it.
It surfaced just prior to the breaking news of a potential free-to-air television deal with the ABC and had all fans of Australian football excited.
Despite the failures of the past and attempts at the quirky, kitsch and flat out corny, now was the time for change and a-league.com.au has an impressive 49-second taster up on its site. The brief snapshot is far more raw and gutsy than much of the promotion we have seen in the past and features some of the more compelling images in the domestic game.
If one had constructed a list of the non-negotiable components of any new campaign it would most probably have looked something like this.
A. Robbie Fowler: One of the most valuable and intriguing new additions to the league.
B. Tony Popovic: The mastermind behind Perth Glory’s resurrection and a well-recognised face to peripheral fans of the game.
C. Active support: A hot topic in Australian football, using images of fan celebrations to connote a sense of both belonging and sheer ecstasy was a no-brainer.
D. Western Sydney Stadium: The Wanderers’ new home stands to change the way football is viewed from the outer and looms as a potential source of increased attendance figures this season.
E. Football: Despite Riley McGree’s scorpion kick becoming one of the most viewed goals in the history of Australian football, moments such as it should feature prominently in any campaign attempting to lure any curious or young fan to an A-League match for the first time.
F. Western United: After waiting so long for much needed expansion, a clear nod to the A-League’s newest club would be vital. With the challenge of reaching into new markets a consistent point of discussion throughout the history of the league, the competition now has one with which to connect and impress.
G. International stars: The best and brightest from beyond our shores bring much street cred to the league, with many football cynics still questioning much of the domestic talent on show. Fowler offers some of that credibility, even in a coaching capacity, yet images of Ola Toivonen, Diego Castro, Adam Le Fondre and Milos Ninkovic must form an important part of any new promotional campaign.
H. Trophy celebrations: Nothing stirs the emotions more than seeing the victors at play and raising silverware.
H. The date: Year on year, Australian sports fans have had the luxury of comically expressing a naivety to the A-League’s launch, even a week or two after it has occurred. Even those still bathing in the glories or wallowing in the disasters of the NRL and AFL semi-finals series’ need to know that the A-League kicks off on October 11 at Coopers Stadium.
It appears the producers of the content may have practised some sort of mind meld and were able to connect with those of us disappointed with the past failures of A-League promotion and the need to move forward into a bold new age.
In short, they nailed it.
All the no-brainers were there. The managers, the players and the fans were presented to the viewer with an aggression and intensity that has been lacking in previous campaigns. Whether further content will veer away from this first attempt to engage in the lead up to the new season is unclear, yet it is definitely a case of so far so good, with the league presented as a slick, passionate and professional one.
Accompanied by a spine-tingling aural soundscape that builds via a ticking time bomb, the promotion climaxes with a dramatic fade away and the block lettered OCT 11 featured against a black background.
The advertisement steers clear of McGree’s historic effort yet showcases a host of local and international names. Toivonen, Le Fondre and Castro are all there, as are Jamie Maclaren, Steven Taylor, Kosta Barbarouses, Lawrence Thomas and Brisbane’s Dylan Wenzel-Halls.
Rather curiously, there is something of a nod to veterans with Liam Reddy and Matt Simon featured and the flashes of mayhem in the terraces get the blood bumping.
Images of current Socceroos Dimi Petratos and Josh Risdon are used and Mark Rudan also features in a clear attempt to introduce Western United to A-League fans, with the club’s logo and kit featuring prominently.
Overall, it looks and sounds great. I showed the clip to some non A-League supporting guests on Sunday and all agreed that it was an entertaining and potentially effective advertisement. They all now know that the A-League begins on October 11.
I doubt they will be at a match unless I can manage to drag them along, however the mere fact that they are aware of the A-League launch is a vast improvement on years past.