The Athletic

The Athletic Emergency Football Hotline

Agency: Harbour Collective


Sports publisher The Athletic has launched the first ever emergency football hotline, for World Cup 2022. The initiative was developed in partnership with brand communication consultancy Harbour.

In order to break through the noise this World Cup season, The Athletic tasked Harbour with developing a fame-driving campaign to raise awareness of the publisher as the go-to source of unrivalled football insight and knowledge throughout the tournament, amongst everyone from die-hard football fans to casual World Cup viewers.

Based on the insight that the more you know football, the more you enjoy football, Harbour has collaborated with The Athletic to develop the first ever World Cup hotline, to feed both the football fanatics and fledglings with the latest stats, facts, data, news and tips to help them enjoy the World Cup and shine amongst their peers.

The hotline number, 0800 0 433 433, which is being promoted in a multichannel campaign running across out-of-home, projections, radio, social media, digital, PR and influencer channels, takes callers to a call centre manned by The Athletic’s football experts, who are set to answer any question they might have. The hotline will enable callers to top up their football knowledge, resolve debates with family, and garner killer insights from the experts.

The Athletic and Harbour worked with PR agency PrettyGreen and its sister influencer marketing agency What They Said to amplify the campaign and develop PR insights.

With new research revealing 70% of fans regularly argue about football with friends – and 17% even admitting to having fallen out with someone permanently over a football disagreement – The Athletic Emergency Football Hotline will act as a key adjudicator for the public, helping to dispel any impending feuds. Not only this, the hotline will also serve the purpose of enabling fans to brush up on everything from the simple to the obscure, as 42% of fans admitted to ‘cramming’ before a match to be ‘in the know’ and outwit their mates’ football knowledge, with 50% stating that knowing more about the game makes watching more enjoyable.

The campaign kicks off with a launch film that brings a conversation from the hotline to life, along with other film content featuring famous football face Mauricio Pochettino.

As part of the campaign, English football legend and the Athletic columnist Alan Shearer is also appearing on top UK news channels to promote the hotline and sitting alongside The Athletic’s experts, to help answer the questions of eager fans.

A variety of well-known influencers will be sharing content featuring themselves taking part in a 2022 World Cup themed quiz. In order to answer the toughest questions, they will call the Emergency Football Hotline for help.

The push is supported by guerrilla activity including sticker posting, sky and building projections as well as The Athletic branded phone kiosks.

The hotline will be available until Sunday 18th December, to coincide with the dates of the tournament.

This professional campaign titled 'The Athletic Emergency Football Hotline' was published in United Kingdom in November, 2022. It was created for the brand: The Athletic, by ad agency: Harbour Collective. This Integrated medium campaign is related to the Media and Sports industries and contains 2 media assets. It was submitted over 1 year ago by Owner: Julia Conroy of Julia Conroy Limited.


Creative agency - Harbour
Creative Directors: Yann-Gael Cobigo & Thibault Michal
Producer: Katie Bayley
Creative Partner: Mick Mahoney
Strategy Partner: Kevin Chesters
Business Director: Anna Bee
Account Manager: Emma Bannon
Illustrator: Studio Jimbo

Client – The Athletic
International Marketing Director: Sinead Bunting
Editor-in-Chief: Alex Kay-Jelski
General Manager UK & International: Aki Mandhar
Marketing Manager: James Wettern

PR agency – PrettyGreen
Associate Director: Lucy Mart / Sam Hooper-Gill
Account Director: Tania Burnham
Account Manager: Rob Jones
Senior Account Executive: Tanz Jeyacheya

Influencer agency - What They Said
Client Services Director: Joe Stratton
Campaign Executive: Kit Wilson


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