Time and time and time again you’ll hear the phrase, be it sung or said in passing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
Sure. Except it’s definitely not for any football club produced content. True, few times of the year really are, but there’s something about the Christmas period that just brings out the worst in Premier League clubs’ content and player promos.
Here are six of the worst examples of these horrendous attempts at entertainment/advertising.
Chelsea – Every Game Matters
In terms of production value and player gaffes, this one is actually not too bad. But the whole thing feels like an Italian advert for Gilette or Sure. Antonio Conte’s voiceover work is admirable, but the script is not doing him any favours.
Plus, it’s not very Christmassy, is it? “During the Christmas period, games are relentless,” is not really the vibe I’m after if I want a festive greeting from my club. I mean, it’s true, but that doesn’t make it right. Still, the worst is definitely yet to come.
Arsenal – Banter Claus
Like it or not, this is a Christmas classic. It’s a forebear of the genre. You almost have to watch it every year, even if there’s an infinite amount of things you’d rather do. The name may bring shudders down your spine. The cast may be out of date*, but it’s still a must-see hate-watch.
*As a side note, it can’t be coincidence that all three of these players, as well as other video staples like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson, have all now left the clu——CARL JENKINSON IS STILL AT ARS
Right, get it over with.
Liverpool – Christmas Means More
The first item on the list from this year. And, you may think it’s innocuous at first – just a club flogging their seasonal merchandise with some faux heart-pulling/passion-inducing music.
But. The tagline is where it starts its descent into ignominy. “Christmas means more.” Why? WHY?!?!? I mean, I know everything else means more for Liverpool – and I’m willing to let that slide for the time being – but why Christmas?!?!
Also, the group photo at the end looks like a promo shoot for Succession season 2, but if it was produced by Channel 5, and not HBO. And why are all the players holding other people’s kids?
Manchester City – The Kolarov Series
In December 2012, Aleksandr Kolarov stood up for what he believed in. He rallied against the calls from PR personnel up high at Manchester City to deliver a festive song for the fans, instead offering one up one of the most harrowing renditions of Jingle Bells you’ll see in your life.
But just like Howard Beale in Network, or Daniel Kaluuya’s character in Black Mirror, his well-intentioned protest was then sucked in and manipulated by the system, and eventually used for the purposes Kolarov was so explicitly fighting against.
It started a series of ‘funny’ videos, where the left-back would dourly ‘sing’ Christmas songs for the sake of clicks and engagement, before he was shipped off to Rome without even a sing-song goodbye. It’s a cruel world.
Everton – Get Your Everton Gifts In Time For Christmas!
Talk about a Nightmare Before Christmas – this is a sincerely depressing effort from Everton.
Yes, that’s really the title. Yes, the budget is really that low, and no, the video quality doesn’t go above 480p. It’s horrendous – and we haven’t even got to the content itself. It’s Toffees players parading around in potential club gifts around a sparse, fake tree.
There’s Romelu Lukaku flicking a scarf round his neck, Tim Howard with the tackiest club watch you can imagine, Bryan Oviedo and his sinister grin propping up a book etc etc. It’s so bad, it’s not even funny. Just depressing. Really, really depressing.
It’s the one you’ve all been waiting for. Harry Kane‘s produced some masterclass promos over the years, but this really is his coup de grace. This is exceptional. It’s a Haringey Council production, so you know the budget is going to be sparing going into it, but Jesus Christ, look at that backdrop.
But that backdrop fades into…well the background, when Mr Kane steps up to send his message about some kind of local festive fair. Speaking with all the gravitas of a roasted turkey, the striker is matched in enthusiasm by young Josh Onomah, who capably stays very much on brand.
We’ve seen Kane do this before many a time for the Spurs official channel, but we’ve never quite seen him take it to this level. Even some dynamic (?) editing and upbeat music can’t save the video from Kane’s glazed eyes and placid tones. He’s the Keanu Reeves of the xmas promo world. And in that way, he’s somehow sort of compelling.