Arsenal FC kicks off support local North London businesses initiative with ‘Arsenal Supporting Supporters’

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In the final week of October, Arsenal FC launched a fresh wave of work in the club’s ongoing ‘Arsenal Supporting Supporters’ local business support initiative. The latest creative sees young midfield star Emile Smith Rowe join centre back Rob Holding and striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in support of local North London businesses – in this case Highbury barbers JNF.

JNF Haircutters has been part of the Arsenal community for almost four decades and its Mountgrove Road shop in Highbury is run by committed Arsenal fan Jimmy Patsalou. The family business was originally opened in 1983 by Jimmy’s father Chris and Jimmy took over in 2000. The name JNF stands for Jimmy, his brother Nicky and his sister Flora. A lifelong Arsenal fan, Jimmy was previously a Junior Gunner and he was a mascot when Arsenal drew 1-1 with Wimbledon on 1 January 1992 when he posed for a pic with then Arsenal captain Tony Adams.

This project is spearheaded by a hero film in which Smith Rowe appears alongside Arsenal fan and social media influencer Michael Timbs (Timbsy) to promote the barbers in a 60-second spot posted across the club’s digital and social channels on 22 October.

As well as the online video, the ad appeared on the stadium’s big screens on game day and also saw JNF feature on the perimeter boards and in the matchday programme for Arsenal’s 3:1 win over Aston Villa on 22 October.

“This is one of a number of ways we are trying to support the local community. After listening to the local businesses involved, it was clear there was one thing in particular they needed – awareness,” explained Arsenal CEO Vinai Venkatesham. “So, we got to work on creating a series of adverts in partnership with them which will hopefully ensure every Arsenal fan knows who they are and how they can use the brilliant services they offer.”

This is the third phase of a project which sees players from the men’s and women’s teams pair up with small businesses close to the club’s Emirates Stadium to raise awareness and boost football on match days as the club, players, fans and community celebrate the return of supporters to the stadium for 2021/22 season fans: something that is a welcome to relief to those local businesses for whom match day custom is a key part of their business model.

This club-based community small business support initiative was initially inspired by the classic player-business partnerships of yesteryear and its first iteration in early September saw defender Holding back local Emirates Stadium pub The Tollington and the second phase featured Emerick-Aubameyang promoting Autoparts in late September.

This case study originally appeared on Activative: which inspires stand out sports marketing with creative and strategic intelligence.

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