One of the most successful Australian brand launches of the last decade: Hyundai A-League

 

'Old Soccer' - stigmatised as a professional domestic sports code


 

Developing the strategic vision for 'new football'




 

New Football: A Statement of Intent


 

New Football: The 'Everywhere Brand'

 

Inheriting a broken, dysfunctional sports code 

Prior to 2005, professional domestic soccer in Australia was a deeply dysfunctional organisation, poorly managed, that lacked strategic purpose and direction and was down on its knees financially. 

In 2004 the National Soccer League was discontinued. 

An enquiry into the sport’s governance was commissioned by the Federal government to assess and recommend steps to take to restructure and resuscitate the sport.


 

In spite of the past - a relaunch founded on confidence!


In 2005, a new professional competition was launched known as the A-League. 


The brand strategy developed was based on insights about what the code could represent to sports interested Australians. A new energised positioning for the sport sought to leverage a new optimistic focus based on independent free spiritedness - characteristics that came to known as ‘new football’. 


The core of the strategy was to activate the sport as a non-traditional cultural counter-point. The brand task became one of featuring a new confident cultural distinctiveness - rather than 'selling' the sport in a traditional commercial way.

 

A cultural sea change that made football a populist Australian sports code


The brand strategy enabled the sport to dramatically reframe it’s former reputation – this was Football, but reinvented - with a new point of view, a new attitude, and a sure-footed sense of what the brand was and what it wasn't. Based on untapped insights about our audience, the brand was seen as different yet at the same time incredibly authentic. The brand emerged as one which challenged conventions and conventional views - with communications setting up the code as a bold, irreverent, spirited brand with: “It’s Football But Not As You Know It”. 


It was light years from what 'old soccer' represented in the past. The A-League brand experience was a true reflection of the intended brand strategy: bringing to life a new purpose, establishing a distinctive cultural identity and successfully  engaging new interest in the sport - setting up the code to be successful for years into the future.

 












 

 

Outcomes

Incredibly the A-League averaged higher crowd attendances in its launch season than the Brazil Serie A competition in the same year (and many refuse to believe me when I say that!). The A-League went onto become even more popular in the next two seasons. 


The financial surplus made by the A-League in its launch year of operations was the first in the history of professional football in Australia (a period of 27 years) – enabling a $4m government loan to be repaid and providing critical funds to grow and develop the sport.


Awarded Gold at the 2007 AFA effectiveness awards (now known as the Effies).

 

For more details about this case study or to discuss how to rejuvenate your brand or organisation contact Pegasus Strategic at:

+61 (0)408 77 22 78  |  andrew@pegasusstrategic.com.au  |  Skype: andrewmoss