Manchester City has reportedly terminated its partnership with PHD Media Manchester, after being hit by a backlash over an apparent appeal for social influencers to promote Champions League matches at the Etihad Stadium.
The rogue ad appeared on Tribe, an app for connecting brands with social influencers, in work the club said was run by the agency. It claimed the brief was run without first obtaining permission or alerting the club directly.
The brief explicitly called for males aged between 18 and 55 to create ‘fan-centric’ content to showcase Champions League matches, stating: “We want to get across the great atmosphere of the Etihad Stadium through the use of influencers who can tell an authentic and genuine story of what it's like to be at the game."
This has now been removed after Man City were forced to deny that they had been advertising for fans.
The episode follows umbrage from Chinese fans annoyed at the perception the club was only interested in visiting the country to fulfill sponsorship obligations.
Meanwhile, the club has also announced a multi-year tie-up with Nestlé Professional which will aim to deliver content, matchday activations, promotions, rewards and events through its food and beverage solutions.
“The brief we issued to a third party supplier, Tribe, fell short of the high standards that PHD Manchester is committed to delivering for its clients and we regret any negative impact on Manchester City FC. We are reviewing our internal processes as a result of this matter," commented Jon Kershaw, managing Director of PHD Manchester in a statement.