Pitch Hire Video – Charlton ‘Score’ 7 Own Goals

Porn as a marketing tool. For Charlton. Really?
Who uses soft porn to market goods these day? The big perfume brands use eroticism. Some male brands still use half clad women. I’m struggling to think of any well known community facing consumer brand that would use pornography as a central part of their marketing presentation. They might advertise in porn mags, but they would be loath to make pornographic imagery core to their marketing messaging. Especially if they were a brand with high profile in the community. Particularly if they had a strong child and family ethos. It would not be a good idea for any brand. It is a particularly bad one for Charlton.

Deception
Some ‘wide thinking winner’ in the marketing department thinks: Let’s do a viral sex video to sell the Pitch Hire idea. This morning it’ll be high fives all round. Millions of pounds of free publicity. A bit of a laugh. Very clever, very mold breaking. But consider the timeline. Story breaks. Club investigates. Silent Witness story gains traction. Club confesses. Someone needs to tell us about the inner discourse at the club. Was there genuine surprise in the upper management? Did they really have to investigate? Or were they spinning the story to maximise the impact in the news cycle. Or was this a bit like the Peeters/Luzon debacle where the fans suspect that someone was being economic with the verite about the breadth and depth of the appointment process. (Luzon may turn out to be a great manager – but that is not the issue here). Who knew what about this video and the process of promoting it? If this video was part of a club policy, why fob of the UK national press for several hours?

Brand Damage
This brand takes the moral high ground. Except when it comes to pitch hire. This brand has a strong child and family ethos. But it uses simulated sex to sell stadium hire. This brand doesn’t like to be called a liar. But it says it has to investigate something that then emerges as part of it’s own marketing policy. This brand promotes safeguarding in it’s work with children. But it uses an adult sex video as part of it’s marketing package. This brand stands for something that has to do with football and community and the willingness of the fan’s to rescue the club. And now this club is saddled with the ‘marketing hoax viral sex video tag’. Many people would think the brand has been damaged and that the club are celebrating this brand damage on their own web site by promoting the whole video rather than admitting to poor judgement, suggesting a review of policy and moving on. The Charlton brand has a certain dignity. This debacle is undignified.

Management Failure
Come on Katrien, you know what we mean. Nudge, nudge wink wink video to sell the Charlton scene. What were you thinking of? It wasn’t your idea? You didn’t know about it? Why not and why then celebrate it on the CAFC website. You did know about it? You signed off on it? Viral sex video hoaxing – was that a module on your MBA. When has marketing via pornography, leaking via Vine, being vague about the video source and then confessing it was a club sponsored promotion ever been a sound management policy? The North Stand have been known to break into ‘You Don’t Know What You’re Doing’ in response to the opposition, the referee and sometimes our own. I’m tempted to sing it even as I type – the events of the last 24 hours do make me wonder if it would be a fitting shorthand way of capturing what is going on here.

Confused Messaging
It’s just a bit of a laugh some will say. A bit of banter if you will. Don’t be such a prude about sexuality others will murmer. (To be clear, sexuality is not wrong. Making love in the open air is not wrong. Simulating it on video for marketing purposes is the problem). It’s not the club’s place to have a view on sexuality and sexual expression some will say. But the club has a view on homophobia, racism, quitting smoking, bad language on the terraces, songs about incest and several other community concerns. So it would not be illegitimate for the club to have a view about responsible sexual expression, even if it only influenced the ethos of the club, rather than being a public policy. Marketing video’s using simulated sex and and inferred casual promiscuity do not speak of the promotion of responsible sexual expression. They do speak of an endorsement of the mentality of pornography, a highly controversial area of public discourse. Why are Charlton using advertising forms reminiscent of an industry linked to oppression, abuse and criminality?

Children, Charlton and Safeguarding
The Community Trust are highly active throughout the South East. They are hailed as a premium provider of training and other community work with children. They will be holding themselves to high standards regarding safeguarding and child protection. Other agencies will want them to be beyond reproach in this area. Parents will want to feel secure. A simulated sex video from the club marketing department will not undermine the day to day professional practices of the Community Trust in any way. But it tarnishes the Charlton name. It suggests shallow thinking about sexuality and responsibility. It makes you wonder about the wisdom of those running the club – and that can only damage all our other work. And when that work involves recruiting a new generation of fans, recruiting new players and serving the community, then hoaxing the public for a few thousand pounds worth of pitch hire seems like really poor judgement.

Incoherent
Given that the current owners only want to engage with the fans in highly managed situations. Given that they do not seem to grasp that well established community connections are as important to a club’s growth and long term health as providing football as a consumer spectacle. Given that we are told we just need to trust the owner. Given all these things we might feel more at ease if the day to day conduct of the club seemed coherent and well thought through. But the inept PR surrounding the appointment of Guy Luzon, the ‘let’s interview a 15 year old rather than talk to 1000 strong supporters trust’ debacle, the program sales fiasco and so many other big and small incidents might suggest that someone is not joining the dots in order to understand the full Charlton picture. For all the 6 reasons noted above and because of the things mentioned in this paragraph we could be forgiven for feeling that club policy on several fronts is a little incoherent. We want to be a happy family club, Roland tells us. We’ll market our pitch facilities using simulated sex video say’s the marketing department. It feels incoherent to me.

Dave Roberts
forevercharlton.net
charlton@tahilla.com

PS Too many hoaxes about Charlton at the moment. Someone needs to check the IP addresses linked to the Charlton Rainbows hoaxer and make sure they don’t end up being in the SE7 8BL region.

2 thoughts on “Pitch Hire Video – Charlton ‘Score’ 7 Own Goals

  1. kingshilladdick

    This article completely sums up my concerns about this stunt.

    I am starting to seriously question the appointment of Katrien Meire.

    If she didn’t know about this then that reflects badly on her; if she signed off on it then it suggests that she has no concept of the consequences – many of which have not yet been realised.

  2. Pingback: Pitch Hire Video – Charlton ‘Score’ 7 Own Goals | Essential Charlton

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