It's a sad but inevitable result of the pitch process that some ideas never make it past an initial mock-up. Pitching forces agencies to offer up their very best ideas—often for free—to be judged against other, similarly hard-working agencies in an arena where the quality of the idea is often only one consideration. Budget, personality and—dare I say it—who you know can often overshadow the hard work done to deliver stand-out creative for a pitch, meaning that strong ideas sometimes languish in old PowerPoint decks, or peel slowly from their mount board under an inch of dust in the studio storeroom.
I've recently found something of a cache of my old ideas from various pitches over the last few years. A few of these ideas don't seem to make sense now, some of the magic has disappeared and seeing them is mildly embarrassing, like half-memories from a heavy night out, but more often than not seeing these ideas is exciting, it sets off the same energy and passion that I had when they first came to me. I find myself frustrated that ideas that I totally believed in—and still believe in for that matter—are just discarded because of some vagary in the way clients commission work from agencies.
And so, here is #01 in an occasional series of ideas that didn't make it. I won't go into why specific ideas didn't get through, it's enough that some ideas that I stand by can see the light in some form.
DISCLAIMER: Bear in mind that the design work here is only meant to sell the concept, to be indicative of what might be developed into final designs once the more tedious aspects of commissioning have been resolved. As always, it's the idea that counts.
THE FA: BALL GAMES ALLOWED
Without going into the specifics of the brief (because I can't—though the presentations remain, the original brief does not) this pitch was all about raising awareness of FA activities such as providing support and training for administrators, parents and volunteers, with activities focussed on National Football Day in 2014. I wanted to look at the important work done by the FA in terms of breaking down barriers within the world of football, and make this resonate with messaging that evoked the reclamation of football from the professionals for the person in the street.
The campaign theme, 'Ball Games Allowed' is intended to give people permission to get involved and play themselves, breaking down any perceptions of football for elite, highly payed, professional players. Ball Games Allowed is about building a movement that empowers people to get involved with football at a grass-roots level—anyone, any place, any time. Looking back to the Christmas Truce of 1914 and even further, football has a power to bring people together across geographical and cultural boundaries, unified in a shared passion for the beautiful game.
A variety of campaign tactics were developed, which I won't detail here other than to mention my favourite, which was to create a website where local teams could upload photos to create their own Merlin-style stickers—allowing them to become football heroes.
I also mocked up a wide range of additional merchandise, my favourites are shown here. I still have a soft spot for GOALTAPE, which I envisioned as a roll of (FA branded) adhesive tape with markings on so that by sticking three lengths to any wall you can create a regulation-sized goal. Further messaging such as 'my other jumper is a goalpost' ties in to the concept of making the game more accessible. There's really no need for expensive equipment, all you need is a love of football.
I wholly stand by this creative, especially GOALTAPE, which if someone doesn't actually produce pretty soon I may need to take to Dragon's Den myself. The concept of a very open and inclusive campaign that gets people out into open spaces and kicking a ball around is something totally missing from all the heavily brand-led advertising around football which ultimately seems to focus on the inclusion of some big-name players, and that's not what football should be about.