Tale of Two Teams: A Football (Soccer) Story

With the excitement buzzing around the new season of Ted Lasso, the Wrexham football season, and Ryan Reynold’s sale of Mint Mobile, Beth Maser, HAI’s CEO shared some thoughts on the art of storytelling in different mediums – in sales, football, and television. 

I have a slight obsession with the television program Ted Lasso. My adult son and I watch every episode together. We watch, discuss and then re-watch. (This makes me SO happy… but I digress!) This obsession logically rolled over to Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s FX hit Welcome to Wrexham. Clearly, the similarities between the two series are self-explanatory (soccer teams that shake things up!), but they could not be more different.  If you think about it, both shows tell a complex story, but in very different ways.

Ted Lasso is filled with fictional people but draws you in with emotion and strong characters. It’s a global phenomenon! At times, with promotional tie-ins, such as team jerseys and other paraphernalia for sale in The WB Shop, the lines between fiction and reality blur. When people quote lines such as “Be a Goldfish” or my favorite, “A good mentor hopes you move on. A great mentor knows you will,” it’s clear to see that it strikes a chord in a cross-section of the population.  Popular culture is truly a wondrous thing to behold, especially when something as terrific as Ted Lasso becomes part of our everyday vernacular. It is amazing to watch it play out on so many levels.

Conversely, Welcome to Wrexham, I argue, is the opposite of Ted Lasso. They both revolve around football (or soccer—depending on your location) but where Ted created a pop culture phenomenon, Welcome to Wrexham brought pop culture to Wrexham, Wales. The combination of Ryan and Rob’s investment, plus their reach and Ryan’s marketing genius, has now taken a locally beloved football/soccer team and created a global fan base.  It is amazing what creativity, word-of-mouth and earned media can do for both shows, football clubs, and cast.

What most people probably did not realize that while Welcome to Wrexham was indeed entertaining, it accomplishes Ryan and Rob’s goal of building a recognizable brand while telling a very compelling story from multiple angles.  Viewers not only learn about the team, but they also learn about the players, the town, Wrexham’s history, and Wales! It’s entertaining and educates viewers in a myriad of ways.

Two completely diverse scenarios, but when you think about it, both revolve around great storytelling.  As I was watching the @Jim Kramer interview on Mad Money last night, @Ryan Reynolds and @Mike Sievert speak about @TMobile’s acquisition of @MintMobile, I was again reminded of how much depends on good storytelling.  Ryan’s constant mention of storytelling as well as his company @MNTN resonated and continues to stoke the demand for his genius and creativity in terms of brand building.

As the CEO of @HAI, we do not have the street cred that Ryan, let alone his millions of social media followers, we are more of a ‘little engine that could.’ We are AFC Richmond trying new tactics and fostering a team-based atmosphere to attain our business goals and our “pitches”. We are Wrexham bringing in new blood to give us a fresh perspective to hone our brand, focus on our clients and deliver the best research, discovery and experience. We are a couple years into it. You could say we are in Season 3. But, in reality, @HAI does know the value of good storytelling and have been working with our clients for over 42 years promoting their stories and history.

Hats off to both of the teams responsible for Ted Lasso and Welcome to Wrexham. You have proven that great storytelling can accomplish many things, leave a lasting impression, educate the masses, and build strong brands, all while being entertaining!

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Stephanie Webster

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