Manchester City sack media agency for unsanctioned influencer campaign

Manchester City has parted company with media agency PHD Manchester after a social media campaign went ahead without the club’s approval.

The Daily Mail reports club officials were left unhappy when the agency, which is part of the Omnicom Media Group, posted the unsanctioned campaign on influencer marketing platform Tribe. The post appealed for Manchester City fans between the age of 18 and 55 to produce ‘fan-centric’ content to showcase the ‘electrifying atmosphere that only Champions League live football matches can deliver’.

The advert, which highlighted Manchester City’s problems filling its Etihad stadium for a string of underwhelming Champions League fixtures, provoked a series of negative stories for the club.

“The Champions League draw this year has given us three relatively unknown teams meaning our core audience are less likely to attend,” said another part of the campaign. “We want to get across the great atmosphere of the Etihad through the use of influencers who can tell an authentic and genuine story of what it is like to be at a game.”

SportBusiness understands club officials immediately asked for the post to be removed once they were made aware of it. The club resisted revealing PHD was responsible for the campaign but has subsequently terminated its relationship with the agency on the basis that it didn’t take responsibility for its actions.

PHD Manchester, managing director Jon Kershaw said in a statement: “The brief we issued to a third-party supplier, Tribe, fell short of the high standards that PHD Manchester is committed to delivering for its clients and we regret any negative impact on Manchester City FC.”

“We are reviewing our internal processes as a result of this matter.”