Season ticket renewal time. The time when marketing departments really earn their keep. The planning for the following season will probably be well underway before the current season’s has even begun, such is their importance. At Everton, the wheels for this year’s campaign are well and truly in motion with their #WeAreChosen campaign.
It’s not an easy time for clubs, especially with the costs rising year on year. Last season Everton managed to achieve a record-breaking 4,000 new season ticket sales, meaning nearly 30,000 people now hold tickets to Goodison Park. So no pressure.
#WeAreChosen has the club’s mantra at its core:
Evertonians are born not manufactured. We do not choose, we are chosen.
The plan for this year’s campaign was to bring the verse to life and attribute meaning to the words using powerful imagery and a film which, in early March, had already been viewed by almost two and a half million people.
The film is the heart, if you will, of the emotive campaign. It depicts Evertonians from all walks of life both inside and outside of the club’s stadium, interspersed with shots of first team players.
Everyone in the film is a genuine supporter, which the club describe as “key to the campaign to ensure the fan base is represented”.
The launch and social media
#WeAreChosen was launched a special event in February, with the video receiving its first airing. Guests were targeted based on data segmentation of the club’s fan base to identify season ticket holders who were most at risk of not renewing, as well as what the club term ‘hot prospects’. 13 groups were identified through segmentation, including supporters who may be moving price bands (students, parents of juniors), lapsed season ticket holders, half season ticket holders, match ticket purchasers of three or more tickets, and season ticket holders who have missed three or more games this season.
The launch event was intended to reward fans for their loyalty and create a feeling of inclusion, rather than to directly push sales. 1,600 supporters from the segmented pool of 50,000 registered for the launch event, hitting the limit imposed by Everton to avoid over subscription. On the night itself, 630 supporters descended on Liverpool city centre to witness street food stalls, behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the video, and entertainment from local musicians.
On the launch night, the #WeAreChosen hashtag was formally introduced. Everton recorded over 2,500 tweets containing the hashtag from 1,576 different accounts, leading to a reach of 1,906,479.
On YouTube the video achieved almost 50,000 views as of the beginning of March. There were also 148,731 plays on Facebook and 2,472 clicks through from Twitter to YouTube on the launch weekend. This social media activity has continued, with the club choosing ten fans at random each Tuesday and following them on Twitter. ‘Chosen Tuesdays’ will continue until the end of the season, and @Everton has been interacting with them each week to find out what the club means to them.
A microsite for the campaign also exists, containing instructions on buying a season ticket, all of the price bands, and behind-the-scenes content from the video.
Away from the internet, Everton have been running print and radio campaigns across the city. The club’s main learning point from a previous campaign was to make sure all materials were consistent in terms of design. This year’s printed application pack was limited to a run of 50,000 and contained an A1 poster of Ross Barkley along with a 32 page leaflet full of season ticket information.
On the radio, the club enlisted the voice of actor and Evertonian Ian Hart to record three separate 30 second adverts. One was intended as a teaser, the second to push ‘now on sale’ messages, and the third targeted at dedicated football shows and – hopefully – a captive audience. There are also 25 Hackney cabs in Liverpool carrying the campaign’s imagery for the first fouR weeks of the campaign.
With regards to external media, adverts are planned for the Liverpool Echo around key deadlines. These will echo the aesthetic of the campaign and focus on the club’s main marketing sales messages, which includes a price freeze on all season tickets for the 2015/16 season.
Richard Kenyon, director of marketing and communications for Everton, has said that he believes #WeAreChosen to be the club’s “strongest season ticket campaign of recent years”, and it’s very hard to disagree. The feedback from fans and press has been extremely positive, and one female supporter decided to take it one step further by having ‘chosen’ tattooed on her arm in a similar font to the one used in the campaign – which is pretty good as endorsements go.
The club reached nearly two million Twitter users on the campaign’s launch night, and the personal conversations with fans through ‘Chosen Tuesdays’ is a particularly nice touch. Taking the time to engage with fans is never a bad idea – hopefully they’ll keep up elements of this after the end of the season.
The whole campaign is underpinned by a strong aesthetic and a clear message to fans. We’re also impressed with the segmentation that was behind the initial launch event. By targeting these core groups they’ve every chance of bettering last year’s season ticket total.