I love innovative marketing and I love football, so you can imagine my excitement this week when both happened at once following Leicester’s remarkable role reversal from underdog to top dog! The team’s latent league topping potential and their exceptional win has certainly thrown up some spirited marketing effort by some of the UK’s top brands.

The guerrilla style campaigns that were the most thoughtful and agile were executed by Walkers Crisps and Captain Morgan, proving that switched-on marketers can tap into current events and share some of the glory and excitement if they keep their eye on the ball.

Both brands have accomplished something special with little more than some Photoshop jiggery-pokery and a huge dollop of original thinking.

Britain’s best loved crisps and former Leicester footballer Gary Lineker have always proved to be a winning formula. This week the brand excelled itself with a memorable cocktail of witty and edgy humour in its “countdown to kit off” activity.

Walkers have produced ‘Salt & Victory Crisps’ to celebrate the Foxes’ win and these will be available to fans at Leicester’s final home game vs Everton on 7th May. However, the story really started a few months ago when Gary Lineker promised to present live on television in his underpants if Leicester City were to win. Needless to say he is now being paraded partially-dressed on digital screens around Leicester congratulating the Club on an incredible season! Gary still hasn't presented his Match of the Day show in his pants and fans across the UK are waiting with baited breath. Next time you might promise to eat your hat Gary – could be less embarrassing.

This was a great idea, but oddly enough it’s not doing that well on social media as the company’s tweets are getting just a few thousand hits apiece. Perhaps a locker-room conversation looming for their digital agency?

On the other hand, Walkers raunchy campaign is doing well in the nationals and on radio and TV and must be racking up millions in equivalent media spend, just the sort of coverage that money can’t buy.

So, we have a re-badged product and a lovely teaser campaign based on a throw away remark by a TV pundit, all grabbing the limelight thanks to a quick-thinking and responsive marketing team.

Not to be out done by a packet of crisps, Captain Morgan rum also took to the field with their ‘#Only One Captain Morgan’ bottle.

Again, a bit of clever photoshop footwork (on the bottle’s label this time) has allowed Leicester City fans to toast captain Wes Morgan with a limited edition tipple. Some nice work there from Rhys Love, Captain Morgan’s Senior Brand Manager.

Wes Morgan appears on the special edition commemorative bottle dressed as Captain Morgan in royal blue and white robes to match Leicester City’s home kit. As well as the footballer’s signature and an updated medallion with 2016 inscribed to mark his title victory as team captain. The on bottle activity has been supported by several congratulatory ads in the sports pages of the national press.

It’s nice to see some quick reflexes at work in the marketing departments of major brands. However, it makes one wonder why these are the only two that I feel are worth mentioning. Most brands seem to have ignored an opportunity that was crying out to be piggy backed.

Having been personally responsible for the sponsorship, brand and marketing communications for one of the UK’s biggest financial brands, I know that most activity is planned well ahead, but I certainly used to keep some powder and budget dry for opportunities like this one.

Here we have marketing activity that not only flies it soars, and as timely, responsive ‘guerrilla-style’ marketing it’s hard to beat. It would be nice to see more ‘strikers’ like Rhys Love in the marketing community, people who can take the ball, run with it and score.

Peter Gandolfi - Chairman Mr B & Friends

Published on: 1:26PM on 9th May 2016