Subbuteo is back (again).
Every few years, some disconnected company somewhere manages to get licence to the name, and each time seemingly makes an absolute pigs ear in trying to re-launch the Subbuteo brand in a modern era.
The Subbuteo community is bustling. It’s better than it’s ever been in my lifetime. Yet this community finds itself stuck in a glass box, unheard and unseen.
While a “table football” fan and collector, my Subbuteo collection is limited to official, Subbuteo branded products. That is largely the La Leggenda series (just seven teams to go until I have the full set!), Premier League branded Hasbro teams and as many of the modern Paul Lamond Games/Netcam teams as possible. Plus a handful of Leggenda Vintage.
Unfortunately, the attitude and ignorance of the official Subbuteo brand makes it painful to be a collector.
The state of this video, released on a Saturday night to signify yet another “re-launch”, says it all:
There are so many people in the community doing much better things than this. The feedback below the tweet says it all.
What are you doing? This is absolute madness. Please speak to us and let's fix this frankly embarrassing attempt at marketing before you destroy a 70 year old brand.
— Subbuteo Online (@SubbuteoOnline) January 23, 2021
Was this Ad filmed on a bedroom floor? Shakey camera, pitch just strewn, and boards used as a background. Please someone remember when you had class, original ideas and something that actually made you stop and look. A single image has way more "pull" than this 🤦🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/OXdYkYpDqA
— WestwoodTableSoccer (@Westwood_TS) January 23, 2021
You need to make a decision here. If you are going to market and advertise the "new" subbuteo, do it properly, and that does mean paying attention to detail. Attention to detail is what made this brand legendary so don't you forget it
— Christofer Walker (@MottysMic) January 24, 2021
This is just embarrassing. It’s like you’re deliberately trying to undermine the product!!!! Out of focus, no close up on the detail (or lack of), and couldn’t even be bothered to mount the pitch properly. Woeful!
— Travis (@timefried) January 23, 2021
There was no information on where we could buy the “new” sets, and if you go on the official Subbuteo website, it’s a drab site with barely any information listed.
That was followed up this week with a video detailing “new” teams.
💥⚽️ GAME ON ⚽️💥
Check out our new team sets in more detail!
— Subbuteo Official (@SubbuteoOficial) January 29, 2021
The trouble is, these look exactly like teams that were released since 2012. I’ve already got virtually identical versions of these times.
Such has been the disjointed efforts of Subbuteo, particularly to the UK audience, there is just no real catalogue or logical way of monitoring just what is released.
Would it have been so hard to use reference numbers?
The La Leggenda and other collections in Italy have been superb. 150 teams, all clearly marked and labelled. I know exactly where I am.
Yet with the modern day Subbuteo, I’ve got multiple licensed teams (which I can semi-understand due to sponsorship and kit changes), but I don’t want another bloody green and white team.
Give me something different. A Croatia. A Motherwell. A Boca Juniors. Anything. Something.
My excitement at seeing a Subbuteo set on sale in Tesco was dampened by the fact it looked so boring – a relatively plain green box, with a small window to show a few players. That’s not going to engage my son.
Make it attractive. Get a photo on the front of people playing and enjoying the game. Get individual team sets released in the pocket money section – heck, you could even start doing 5-a-side teams in “blind bags” to make them cheap and then people might combine two 5-a-side teams to make a full one.
With the latest “re-launch”, now is the time for someone to get a grip of it. People WILL buy them if they are done right. Give proper reference numbers to released items.
And stop embarrassing stuff like this happening – where people order VAR sets and don’t get them!
The way Subbuteo currently operates is like a football club that completely ignores its fans – and then wonders why no one buys a ticket.