The Right To Have An Idea

James Cooper
3 min readAug 18, 2022

Football is back. Real football. The Premier League. Just before the start of the new season, and actually, for the first few weeks of the new season, we have what is known as the transfer window. A time where clubs try to either improve their squad or their bank balance.

The transfer window has become a thing. In the absence of any actual football there is nothing else to talk about on social media. And nothing gets more clicks than someone randomly saying they know ‘for certain’ that player A is about to sign for club B. Amateur detectives and Sky Sports reporters (amateurs in every sense other than one assumes they get paid) keep the content flowing. This goes on for months.

Official announcements are the finale. The money shot. The denouement. The wedding scenes in Succession.

Traditionally the announcement only comes in two forms. Player signing contract on table (with or without manager) or player in new shirt (with or without manager). But this year I spotted two announcements that were quite different.

These transfer announcements were……ideas.

The advertising industry is dividend into two camps on the subject of who is allowed to have ideas. On the one side, only creative teams are allowed to have ideas. On the other side, only the writer of the creative team. (That is a joke. Sort of.)

Who is most certainly not allowed to have ideas is clients. Or to give them their real name; businesses. Normal business people are incapable of coming up with ideas. That is why they need us.

But despite our very best protestations over the last years it is becoming clear that this is in fact, bollocks.

Anyone can have an idea.

Even football clubs. Footballers! I know. The dumbest people on the planet! (But who make more money than we could ever dream of.)

When Gabriel Jesus signed for Arsenal this was the official picture. For many fans this is a great picture of a key new player in the stadium. For others who get the idea, the Christ Redeemer statue in Rio (Jesus is Brazilian) the idea is complete. Some of the best ideas are where the viewer has to do a little bit of work. Because when that penny drops a better emotional connection is made with the ad. You feel part of it.

So, nice little visual idea. 1–0 to the Arsenal.

A few days later I saw this announcement from Roma.

This is not only an idea. It is an idea with a cause. Ideas with causes win stuff at Cannes.

Of course *this* idea won’t win anything at Cannes. It is not designed to within an inch of its life and……critically, it didn’t come from an ad agency.

It came from….oh how the mighty have fallen, a football club.