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It’s all about the fans

THE 2004 membership campaigns of Western Australia’s two AFL clubs are less about the football and more about the fans.

Following on from last year’s controversial ‘Do you have the passion?’ campaign, the Fremantle Football Club has unleashed new ads that, while they may not cause as much water cooler talk, nevertheless will kick a marketing goal.

A series of three 15-second ads developed by The Brand Agency is focused on the passion of Fremantle supporters and how aggressively they will guard their seats.

The ads feature a ferocious dog sitting on a chair, razor sharp barbed wire wrapping a chair, and a bear trap placed on a chair. They are shot at Subiaco Oval.

The Brand Agency account manager Alex Tew said while there was discussion about producing another risqué campaign, the FFC and The Brand Agency decided to work on a strategy that had a stronger call to action.

“Last year’s campaign got the cut through and the word passion really was embedded in the Dockers. You go down to the club and everyone talks about the passion,” he said. 

“This year’s campaign is about that passion but has a stronger call to action.”

The West Coast Eagles’ membership drive is similar in its evolution to 2003’s ‘Only a fan understands’ campaign.

From an excited husband watching an Eagles game in the delivery room while his wife gives birth, to press advertising exemplifying the die-hard nature of fans, the campaign also markets the members.

But according to JDA Creative creative director Ron Samuel, the campaign also reinforces loyalty to West Coast Eagles’ very strong membership base, which is almost at capacity. 

“Membership is right up there and this reinforces the loyalty of those members, and for fans who can’t go to the games,” Mr Spencer said. 

“What we’ve tried to do is get into the mind of the members.”

Mr Tew said the recent Dockers campaigns were a shift from traditional sports advertising.

“Most sports marketing is about the sport or people playing it. We wanted to get away from that commodity and build the membership campaign about being a member and advertise before the season has begun,” he said.

“We’re viewing members as an entity and marketing toward them.”

Both clubs have low budget campaigns and use a contra allocation from the AFL to book its media.

FFC marketing manager Steve Rosich said Fremantle’s spend was $131,000, of which $64,000 is devoted to free-to-air television. The remainder is spent on Foxtel.

“It’s a short campaign that catches the eye. It’s about targeting members,” Mr Rosich said.   “We have a revised target of 30,000 members. We have 27,799 at the moment, which is 2,452 above last year.”

Mr Rosich wouldn’t reveal the club’s ‘churn rate’, but said FFC had recorded its highest renewal rate.

West Coast Eagles marketing manager Deane Pieters said the club was approaching capacity membership and had recorded a record amount of sponsorship for 2004 – $6 million.

“We have a wonderful retention of members here. Our churn factor is single digit, whereas most AFL clubs have an average of 20 per cent,” he said.

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