News that Co-op and Britannia are launching current accounts with Sunderland AFC and Everton FC will go down well with fans of the Mackems and the Toffees, but is this just another cynical marketing ploy?
We know that football fans are blindingly loyal and will sign up for just about anything if it has the club badge on it.
I speak from some experience having followed my local club (Crystal Palace), which even now languishes towards the bottom of the Championship, for longer than I care to remember.
Show your support
Financial products linked to football clubs always claim to help ‘support’ the team, but are usually vague in detail. There is an argument that fans should only sign up to products that suit their needs, and try to support their football team in other ways, eg turning out on a cold Tuesday night.
Credit cards with the club badge on them have always proved popular but invariably come with a high APR. Branding current accounts takes affinity marketing up a level, but at least the Co-op’s Standard Current Account isn’t the worst on the market.
So am I missing the point here? Football is supposed to be fun (although not always the case following my long-suffering team) and people are free to sign up to whatever they like if it makes them happy and contributes to the feeling that they are supporting ‘their’ club.
Football gone mad or sensible, targeted marketing?
The idea, if you agree with the principle, could be extended to other areas, targeting theatre goers, cinema fans, gourmet food lovers and car fanatics. However, the benefits have to be real and the underlying financial accounts and products have to come up to scratch when put under scrutiny.
So should we knock companies for thinking about their customers and providing a product or service that appeals to their interests? At least they’re thinking about their customers as well as keeping an eye on the top line.