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Shannon Sinclair

Lightbox Loves: A League of Their Own

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Just as the Premier League, English Football League and Women’s Super League announce their four-day boycott of social media from the end of April, we have seen a demonstration of how powerfully social media influences the modern game. Over the past week, coverage of the European Super League, and its demise at the behest of outraged fans, dominated the news.  The role of social media was crucial in this, providing fans with a platform that amplified their voices to clubs, officials, politicians and even non-footballing audiences to gain support for their cause. Ultimately their outcry led to the demise of the ESL in a matter of days. How did social media help fans take down the league? And what can brands learn from this?

The explosion of discussion on Twitter after the Sunday night announcement of the league was immense and immediate. There were 1m mentions of the Super League in the seven days from its announcement, peaking last Wednesday when a third of mentions occurred in response to the English teams announcing their withdrawals from the league. Perhaps surprisingly, sadness rather than anger was the most common emotion among tweets, with 37% of posts expressing this feeling and showing the sense of hurt and betrayal that fans felt. The cry-laughing and rolling-on-the-floor laughing emojis were the most used emojis across the seven-day fall-out from the announcement (tweeted 16,309 and 7,171 times respectively), as fans criticised and made light of obvious flaws in the ESL’s plans. Their humour helped to embarrass the ESL organisers and bring the issue to a wider audience, especially as memes proliferated across social platforms. Despite the entertainment factor involved, there were also serious conversations occurring about the nature of professional football today. Among the most used words in tweets were “community” (10,350), “listening” (5,624) and “greed” (6,881) as fans felt that the ESL undermined the fundamental values of sportsmanship and the traditions of grassroots football.

The ESL failed for a number of reasons, but the lesson for brands from this episode is that brands must understand culture and where they fit within it. It’s hardly surprising that the ESL jarred fans, given the long-standing traditions of the game but also due to more recent cultural shifts that we have seen higher importance on community values across society. Heineken’s reactive ad got this right, combining the right tone of voice and a meme-like sense of humour. Culture is something that brands need to continually consider as part of their communications, especially as it develops so rapidly in the digital world.

 

Sources: BrandWatch data.

Lightbox Loves: Miss You Already?

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After more than a year of social and travel restrictions, economic uncertainty, and business closures, today is a day worth celebrating. For the first time this year, we can get our hair cut, shop to our hearts’ content and enjoy a well-deserved pint in our favourite local. With two thirds of Brits agreeing that the past year has been worse than a typical year, you’d think we’d be welcoming our new found freedoms with open arms, and never looking back…

To some extent, this is already proving to be true – even with freezing temperatures this morning, the re-opening of the high street was greeted with queues of Brits ready to experience a dose of normality. However, despite there being a huge appetite to enjoy many of life’s pleasures once more, over half of Brits (54%) claim that they are going to miss some elements of lockdown.

So much so, 1 in 5 of us admit that lockdown was better than expected, with this number doubling among 16 to 35 year olds. For 20% of Brits, personal finances have improved as a result of the pandemic, 1 in 3 now feel closer to their immediate families and 1 in 5 feel a stronger sense of community, claiming that they now have a better relationship with their neighbours.

It seems that we might already be starting to look back at the first lockdown with rose tinted glasses. A viral TikTok video which romanticises some of the cultural highlights of the March 2020 lockdown – such as Tiger King, #clapforcarers, DIY hair cut disasters and baking banana bread, describes last year as the ‘good ol’ days’ and ‘#bettertimes’, which has generated over 1 million likes and 35k comments – many of which positively reminisce about when lockdown was novel, recalling the period as ‘fun’ and ‘a vibe.’

As humans, we are very good at looking back with a glass half full attitude, focussing on the fond memories gained during lockdown, whilst allowing the more traumatic recollections to fade away.

Whilst it’s still too early to tell whether some of the fondness held towards lockdown will become part of culture, or if it will be all-forgotten as ‘normality’ resumes, brands who can help us navigate ourselves out of lockdown, by showing empathy towards our experiences over the past year, and continue to focus on some of the positives gained during this time are likely to engage consumers in both the short and long term.

 

Sources:

https://www.tiktok.com/@wil.gos/video/6917607961292508417?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tyla.com%2F&referer_video_id=6917607961292508417&refer=embed&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-coronavirus-restrictions-lockdown-rules-study-b925875.html

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/policy-institute/assets/a-year-of-life-under-lockdown.pdf

https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/year-life-under-lockdown-how-it-went-and-what-people-will-miss