The Battle for Subscribers

Published August 18, 2016
Last Updated July 9, 2018
Jask Creative

As another hotly contested football season began last weekend, so too was a hotly contested battle for subscribers going on behind the scenes.

We are of course referring to BT Sport vs. Sky Sports vs. Virgin Media in the chase for subscribers to their football broadcasting services.

As expected, we have seen each broadcasting giant come up with their own unique creative marketing campaigns to try and sway the audiences.

BT Sport are leaning on the fact that you can watch four different competition types from their channels, Sky Sports have gone with the headline of having more live games than ever before, whilst Virgin Media are combining both and offering up football from both BT Sport and Sky Sports.

As lovers of outdoor media campaigns (we do our own for British Athletics, don’t cha know), our studio share their thoughts on which campaign garners the most creative and eye catching impact.

BT Sport Advertisment | Jask Creative

BT Sport

  • Amy says:

    “I think this is probably my favourite out of the three ads. It’s something different and eye catching. With the way the four images are merged it makes you look again too.”

  • Kristen says:

    “I actually quite like the approach BT Sport have taken for this campaign. The message is clear and executed well – 1 provider, 4 major competitions.

    “Directed at the ‘real football fan’, the artwork is carried out in such a way that the 4 different shirts in each quadrant are iconic enough to be identifiable to each of the four competitions. The 4 competition logos and ‘Ronseal’ strap-line finally drive the message home engaging football fans and third party interest alike.

    “This billboard ad also has an instant recognisable essence that relates to the better executed televised ad campaign – where the movement of the montage enhances the excitement and visual impact.

    “In my opinion this is the most memorable print and televised advert campaign from the three big broadcasters as it has a unique creative vehicle which hasn’t been done before in this market in both print and motion – whereas the Sky ad lacks creativity and the Virgin campaign, although witty and brand recognisable, lacks any visual impact.”

Sky Sports Advertisment | Jask Creative

Sky Sports

  • Matt says:

    “An eye catching combination of action images that would have taken a lot of visual image research (and a lot of cutting out!) to get a consistent feel.

    “The tight composition of players allows a lot of clear space which in turn gives room for a clear headline. The ‘infinite’ trail of players, combined with the header completes the feeling of ‘MORE’. Finally the ad retains a subtle nod to the overall brand style with the blue smoke detailing to tie in with TV idents.

    “For balance the only part that feels strange to me is the angle of the type and the new Premier League logo feels a little lost in the top left corner.”

  • Dave says:

    “The idea you instantly get from the campaign is MORE. Which in comparison is their unique selling point against everyone else out of the competition. Alongside the clear headline, it is backed up visually with the multiple footballers lined up and going off into the horizon!

    “Sky have executed this very well visually and it conveys the message clearly.”

  • Kevin says:

    “My favourite of them all is the Sky Sports advert. As a designer I’ve always liked manipulating photographs and working with layers, this type of work always grabs my attention. The Sky Sports ad showcases eye catching, dynamic, layered imagery and effects to support a simple message, which I find effective.”

Virgin Media Advertisment | Jask Creative

Virgin Media

  • Simon says:

    “The catchy headline works well and I like the striking use of the typography, perhaps this is because it’s one of my favourite fonts at the moment! The gradient works well in the background too, the big pitfall for me though is that it is missing some kind of emotive imagery that could have been used over the top of the gradient”

  • Matt says:

    “A deliberately simple approach utilising Virgin’s ubiquitous red gradient fill contrasted with simple sans serif typography to deliver a simple message. Of the three this is the only one to try a play on words but it does need a subhead to explain the headline’s meaning though. The lack of imagery may be driven by the fact that Virgin isn’t actually a broadcast partner unlike BT and Sky, meaning that they may have had little choice than to take this approach.”

And do we have a winner?

As always, design is subjective and in the eye of the beholder, so picking out an outright winner isn’t quite as simple as football games themselves where you have clear score lines. However for the “turn your head and look again” factor, BT Sport gets the overall vote of appreciation on this occasion. From a graphic design point of view though, Sky Sports takes it for the technical execution in the layering of imagery.

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