When Aston Villa launched their new 2010-11 kit range they wanted to make a big splash — for the new Villa look coincided with the announcement of a new multi-million pound shirt sponsorship deal with partners FxPro.
The launch was carried out at an open-air event in Centenary Square at The ICC Birmingham. Villa players Stiliyan Petrov, Brad Friedel, Stewart Downing and Carlos Cuellar appeared to showcase the kit on the catwalk.
Children from Aston Villa’s charity partner, Acorns, also took the stage alongside the Villa players and one lucky child pressed the plunger to reveal a giant replica shirt on the outside of The ICC building. The event also featured a five-a-side football tournament with local school children and a gig by Villa-supporting local band Mexicolas.
Our job was to help Villa’s Communications team maximize the positive publicity from the event, ensure the media management was slick and the new partnership between the club and sponsors got off to the best possible start. In particular, this involved overseeing interviews with Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner and the FxPro CEO Denis Sukhotin with business and sports reporters. The media were also invited to a post launch press conference held in the ICC building with the players all kitted out in the new-look strip. The Viva team also handled the TV and radio interviews with the players. Here it was important they were pre-briefed about potentially sensitive areas so that they could steer clear of them as much as possible.
More than 25 different media organisations were represented at the launch, including Sky, the national newspaper press, the BBC, and regional press. The immediate reaction from FxPro was that it was an excellently executed launch and they felt they had been associated with a well-organised team.
“Viva's professionalism and dedication to getting things just right fits perfectly with the Aston Villa ethos and motto — prepared. For instance, leaving a player like Brad Friedel, who holds the record for most consecutive Premier League appearances at 226 and counting, in their capable hands, to organise and maximise national TV coverage, was not merely no risk, it was reassurance that the club would be represented in the best possible light. Their understanding of the media as well as their client's needs, in addition to their knowledge of corporate communications, means that Aston Villa enjoys a fruitful, ongoing relationship with Viva. Furthermore, their simple, human decency makes them the best of people to work alongside."
Aston Villa Football Club