Performance Communications ticked all the boxes – they had a clear strategy, carried out with structured research and, with inclusion of all relevant partners, resulted in a demonstrable return on investment. The programme ensured that key messages reached all target audiences, with a creative, inspiring and fun campaign which captured the imagination. It made the most of a previously under-utilised sponsorship partnership and involved no other agency input. Using a broad range of tactics and events, they undertook a range of activities that resulted in 5 clear sales.


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Brief and objectives:

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had sponsored the English Football League (EFL) since May 2015. Apart from advertising at the play-offs, they hadn’t used the partnership to promote the parent company or any of its brands.

We were tasked with finding ways of leveraging the sponsorship to achieve the following objectives:

  • Raise brand and product awareness
  • Generate sales leads.


Rationale behind campaign, including research and planning:

Reviewing the EFL’s audience, we found that 52% of its viewers came from a trade background. Further research showed that football was the most talked about subject among tradesmen, online. Additionally we found approx. 20 professional footballers who had been tradesmen either before or after their playing careers.

Finally, at the time footballer Jamie Vardy was enjoying a lot of media attention, with people focusing not only on his footballing ability but also his rise to fame from working in a factory and playing non-league football to Premiership player so we knew there was appetite for ‘rags to riches’ stories.

With that in mind, we recommended we focus on Fiat Professional, FCA’s range of commercial vehicles whose core audience of professional tradesmen matched the EFL’s audience demographics. There were also three new models due to launch in 2016 so we knew we could use this campaign to raise awareness of these products.

With the Euros kicking off in June 2016, we timed our campaign to launch in April to tap into the news agenda and maximise the nation’s interest in football.


Strategy and tactics, including creativity and innovation:

Traditionally tradesmen had been targeted as businesses with advertising campaigns focused on practical, largely financial-based elements. We wanted to find a way to engage our target audience with Fiat Professional and give them an emotional reason as well as a practical reason to buy the product.

So with all of our insights in mind, we developed The Fiat Professional Tradesman Trials, a nationwide initiative to provide one tradesman with the chance to win a one month trial at a Football League Club.

This insight-driven, content-led campaign used tradesmen’s passion-point of football as the hook to draw them into the Fiat Professional brand. Single-mindedly focused on our core audience, we not only tapped into their competitive nature but also the wider news agenda.

As sponsor of the EFL Fiat Professional was the only automotive manufacturer who could offer tradesmen the chance to forge a professional football career, showing how Fiat Professional supports the nation’s tradesmen. To be in with a chance of winning the trial at a Football League club and £2,000, tradesmen had to submit video evidence of their own footballing skills.

For tradesmen who didn’t play football, we ran a separate competition where they could win a Fiat Professional van.


Implementation of tactics:

  1. Ambassadors: We signed up three former footballers who had been tradesmen – Stuart Pearce (electrician), Dean Windass (hod carrier) and Geoff Horsfield (brick layer) – to be ambassadors for our activity. We knew that with the upcoming Euros, Stuart Pearce, hero from Euro 96, would be of interest to media.
  2. Campaign Launch: A Tradesman Challenge where our ambassadors took on a series of challenges to see if they still had their trade. Media attended (incl. Soccer AM & three key auto & trade titles) and video sold into media to encourage competition entry via specially-built microsite.
  3. Momentum: We regularly released new content including new challenges and interviews with the ambassadors e.g. the ‘Cement Mix Challenge’. We continued to set up interviews with the ambassadors and key media outlets to drive video entries. A DPS in The Sun Motors included all key messages, a product review, a bespoke video and social media posts. Ambassador Geoff Horsfield attended the Commercial Vehicle Show to talk to visitors about the Trials and the range of products.
  4. Trials Day: A shortlist of 20 (which we promoted to relevant regional media) were invited to attend the ‘Tradesmen Trials Day’ along with media including Sky Sports News. We also developed a summary video of the day which all partners published on their channels. This took place in June during a quiet period of the Euros when media would be looking for football-related content.
  5. The winner: We promoted the winner to his local media and to the local media of the club he chose, Rochdale. After his trial finished, he then moved to Bangor City in the Welsh Premier League.
  6. EFL Sponsorship Assets: Campaign push on EFL website, social channels and Wembley play-off LED boards.
  7. Paid-for support: 10,000 leaflets printed and distributed at the play-offs at Wembley. Paid-for partnership with On The Tools and 10 football influencers.


Measurement and evaluation:

Raise brand and product awareness:

  • Pieces of coverage: 415 (70 pieces in van / trade media):
  • Highlights include a DPS feature in The Sun Motors which included a product review and 4 news items on Sky Sports News which all featured the new Fullback van.
  • Video views: 848,000
  • Reach: 854m.

Generate sales leads:

  • 3 van sales (worth over £95,000) directly linked to the campaign
  • 31,000 visits to Tradesman Trials website
  • 1,130 click-throughs to, of which:
  • 10 used new van configurator
  • 5 test drive requests
  • 5 quote requests
  • 50 local dealer searches.

Partner support:

  • 29 clubs signed up and supported the activity (65% of available clubs as some already had automotive partners)
  • Full utilisation of FCA’s sponsorship assets (EFL newsletters, digital advertising and Play-off Finals media)
  • Football League partners Mitre, Johnstone Paint and Sporting ID supported the campaign with product and on owned media channels.


Budget and cost effectiveness:

Total budget: £131,000


  • Cost per acquisition of leads: £115
  • 5 vans worth £162,000 sold
  • Campaign opened doors for Fiat Professional with potential trade partners including Wickes and CheckaTrade.