Let’s not get hyped up about hype
In the scheme of things, England Hockey’s marketing department didn’t need to worry about further promoting England women’s first major international in the UK since the Rio Games.
The ‘sold out’ signs for their Olympic rematch with the Dutch went up online just one hour after going on general sale.
But hype is hype and when we have to wait so long to see our stars, why not give the match as much exposure as possible?
So, on Valentine’s Day, England Hockey released a tweet entitled ‘Breaking hearts since 2013’ alongside the ‘Clash of the Champions’ slogan referring to the June clash.
The national governing body probably didn’t intend to provoke the discord which subsequently opened up online.
There were those who called the promotion ‘crass’ and ‘disrespectful’. Others saw it as a bit of fun. Move along, no news here. After all, haven’t we got to focus on an English domestic club actually doing well in Europe?
A day after the Valentine’s Dayfurore, Bayern Munich mocked Arsenal on Twitter and everyone had a chortle.
Accompanied with two images of the 5-1 score line following another Champions League hammering, the German giants said: “Same again next year,” alongside a waving emoji.
A big sport with an even wider audience, yet no controversy. On a daily scale, there are plenty more newslines to be had when it comes to football. No such luck with hockey, of course.
Nearly 20 years ago, then 18-year-old England international Lucilla Wright was caught up in a controversial advertisement in a local magazine. ‘8:30, my place’ ran the ad, with Wright pictured lying provocatively on a bed. It was a bid to pick up ticket sales ahead of an upcoming clash with Australia.
The train of thought from the association’s marketing department at the time was that Australia would play in all-in-one lycra kit, yet the promotional gimmick caught the attention of national newspapers for mostly the wrong reason.
Then, four years ago, an Argentine hockey player who was filmed – as part of a governmental video – doing step-ups on a British war memorial on the Falkland Islands was dropped from the country’s squad ahead of the London Olympics for “sporting reasons”.
These two episodes are, of course, far removed from last week’s promotion.
The only consequences for England will surely come on the pitch. For Dutch Hockey has remained silent on the issue.
So expect the image – as Nick Irvine points out in his column this week – to be pinned up in the Lee Valley away dressing room come June. Game on.