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Umbro England kit PR launch

By UTalkMarketing
Best practice from Threepipe PR.


UMBRO, the global football brand, turned to Threepipe to launch the England team’s new away kit. With the World Cup only months away, this was one of the biggest and most high profile product launches of the year. This was a crucial product launch for UMBRO, and vital to get right in terms of driving sales of the product in the 2006 tournament year. Such a high profile event was also important in determining perceptions of the UMBRO brand among consumers, shareholders and in the City.

Threepipe delivered a launch campaign that brought together PR activity, online promotion, brand partnerships and a high-profile launch event involving 200 media and nine England players, including David Beckham, Michael Owen, John Terry and Frank Lampard.

The launch generated a massive amount of media coverage across TV, radio, print and online media, reaching an estimated 25 million UK consumers with key messages about the new kit and UMBRO’s association with the England team.

The Challenge

With the 2006 World Cup just months away, the launch of the new England kit represented a massive opportunity for UMBRO to leverage their sponsorship of the England team.

An integrated launch campaign was needed to deliver key messages about the product design and technology to the widest possible audience of England football fans

The launch event itself was a complex logistical challenge, with extensive planning required to deliver a smooth event to cater for over 300 guests, including media from around the World, and the involvement of nine high-profile England football players.

UMBRO also needed to leverage its relationships with individual England players, including Michael Owen, John Terry and David James, through strategic PR activity.

Planning and Implementation

Launch Venue

Planning began in June 2005, with several meetings with UMBRO and The F.A. to identify the best timings for the launch, in terms of the England fixture list. After establishing the launch date of February 27, just ahead of England’s game against Uruguay at Anfield, the next challenge was to find a suitable venue in the North West of England.

Threepipe researched various options in Manchester and Liverpool, visiting potential venues to assess their suitability, before settling on the Radisson SAS hotel in Manchester. Several further meetings were held with the venue, UMBRO and The FA to plan the launch event.

Player Interviews

Threepipe produced a long-lead media plan, offering UMBRO players for interviews with lifestyle magazines, designed to generate positive media coverage at the time of the launch. A series of interviews took place in November and December 2005, with Threepipe negotiating with the media and players’ agents to ensure that all sides would be happy with the results.

A deal was struck with The Sun, offering John Terry for an exclusive interview in January 2006, resulting in two pieces of heavily branded coverage before and after the kit launch.

The paper ran UMBRO’s images and carried key details of the new kit, encouraging readers to log on to for more information.

Launch Event

A complex event to organise! Every last detail had to be right, from security for the players, down to individual briefing sheets for the media.

Taking place early in the morning, in order to set the news agenda for the day, a total of 300 media, guests and competition winners were all treated to an exhibition of UMBRO’s global photography, before watching the spectacular launch event, hosted by the BBC’s Mark Clemmit, where David Beckham, Michael Owen, John Terry, Frank Lampard and five other England players officially revealed the new strip for the first time.

Following the unveiling, a total of 30 one-one interviews took place with the England players, including live appearances on BBC Breakfast News, Radio 1, Sky Sports, and Radio 5 Live.

With players on a tight schedule, Threepipe had to be totally on the ball to ensure that each media got their allotted time slot with the players. Each interview delivered key messages and reinforced the campaign imagery through the use of a branded backdrop.


A total of 25 pre and post-launch promotions were set up to deliver UMBRO’s message to the target consumer.

Partnerships were set up with Carlsberg, Pepsi, Yahoo!, The FA and various consumer media streams including The Sun, MTV, Match and Radio 1.


Media Coverage

The launch event and one-one interviews generated coverage in The Sun, The Mirror, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Star, Daily Mail, The Express, The Independent, The Guardian, Metro, London Evening Standard, BBC Breakfast News, ITV News, Channel 4 News, Five News, Sky Sports, Soccer AM, Radio 1, 5 Live, MTV, Nuts, Zoo, Match, London Sport, and many more!

Long lead media coverage included FHM, FourFourTwo, Shoot, T3 and Stuff.

Commercial Success

The new shirt sold through in record time in the first few days of going on sale, helping UMBRO and its retail partners to reap the rewards of the massive interest in the
England team, four months before the World Cup had even started!

The week following the launch event saw UMBRO’s share at an all time high.
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