Overview of Celtic v. Kilmarnock Scottish Communities League Cup social marketing activity
The inaugural Scottish Communities League Cup (SCLC) Final which was played on Sunday was not only unusual by the fact it was won against the odds by Kilmarnock - most were expecting Celtic to win - but because of the nature of the sponsorship. The real difference with this final from all others is that the main sponsor was the Scottish Government, which used the cup to communicate a social message, funded through £1 million of money seized from criminal activity.
The competition, which began at the end of July, was used as a positive force within Scottish communities. The one-year partnership with the Scottish Football League has been aimed to use football to galvanise stakeholders, bring change and re-engage with communities and promote interactivity and foster community spirit across the country.
Both The Scottish Government’s marketing and communications team, alongside Material Marketing Group, have led the activity to fully utilise the opportunity the competition has afforded them in trying to redevelop community spirit across the country.
Young people have been a major focus for the campaign, with around 500 youngsters, between the ages of 8-15, have taken part on the tour of the trophy, which was taken around all 26 local authorities through the 42 competing clubs and community activities. The tour was also used to attempt to relay core values such as respect, responsibility and tolerance, with bigotry within football a notorious problem for Scotland and sectarianism an age old predicament.
Families and fans were given access to the cup to take photos alongside the cup, with a number of footballing personalities also participating and endorsing the tournament’s core messaging. This has also seen around 1000 people being involved through the SCLC Facebook page.
To ensure access was granted to games through the tournament, over 3,000 tickets were made available for free to the public, with more than half being handed to under 16’s, to ensure they had contact with the game.
In order to highlight the country’s support for the key messages promoted by the tournament, a partnership with Real Radio Scotland, entitled ‘Pass it On’, which garnered 10,000 signatures in response. This one of a number of media partnerships, promotions and competitions implemented during the course of the tournament.
Other activity in promotion of the message has been delivered through social media channels, event management, and the facilitation of cross partnerships between the country’s sporting organisations, including the Scottish Football League, the Scottish Football Association, the Scottish Premier League, Sports Scotland, Winning Scotland Foundation, Scottish Sport Futures, Cashback for Communities and the local education authorities.
The final itself saw the culmination of the work undertaken by all parties involved at the showpiece event which tool place at the National Stadium, Hampden Park. This included each of the teams being escorted out to the pitch by mascots who have won their place through associated competitions run by clubs, the media and Positive Coaching Scotland. Also present were the under 14’s teams for Celtic and Kilmarnock, who participates in a 10 second, half-time challenge final to decide the winners of the Respect, Responsibility and Tolerance trophy.
Clare Smith, senior PR manager at the Scottish Government, who has overseen the development of the campaign, explained that the three campaign messages of respect, responsibility and tolerance were purposefully selected as being crucial to both football and the strong values that the Government believes can promote “stronger communities”.
She continued: “An integral part of the campaign’s success was forging a partnership between the Scottish Government, the Scottish Football League, Winning Scotland Foundation, all 42 Scottish clubs, the Scottish FA, sportscotland and other organisations that contribute towards Scottish football at a national and local level.
“Together, we’ve been promoting respect, responsibility and tolerance to schools, community groups, young people, parents, teachers and football coaches using football as a platform for youth and community engagement, and a force for positive change.
“We know that many of the issues so widely reported in Scottish football won’t be overcome by the sponsorship alone, but the SCLC campaign is at the centre of a shared commitment to build on what is good about the game, to take the passion at the grassroots level and across communities, and set an example to the rest of football and society.
“Ultimately, we want the SCLC to make a lasting difference in the promotion of all the good things about Scottish football, to be remembered for all the right reasons, and to lead to the continued promotion of localised community football."
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