Football’s Festive Featurettes: Ben Chilwell and the sacred scarf

The quintessential Christmas advertisement has become as much a part of the festive ritual as a tree decorated in lights or a wreath hanging on the front door. 

Each year without fail, the British public wait with baited breath for the John Lewis commercial to make its debut and more recently, football and other sporting clubs have hopped on the bandwagon, producing their own festive featurettes.

Insider Sport is looking back at past Christmas campaigns produced by football clubs to market the clubs’ merchandise stores in the run up to the big day.

In 2019, Leicester City’s ‘Gifts That Inspire’ campaign captured the attention of football fans everywhere, evoking emotion and tugging on the heartstrings of Foxes’ fans in particular. 

The campaign was centred around now-Chelsea full-back, Ben Chilwell, telling the story of his unprecedented rise to stardom.

The video gained traction after it was shared across the club’s official social media channels, appealing to the ordinary football fan who one day aspires to play in the Premier League.

It opens with re-created home movie footage of an adolescent Ben Chilwell, excitedly tearing open a blue and white striped Foxes scarf on Christmas Day which, incidentally, is concealed in Leicester City gift-wrap. 

The child actor playing Chilwell is then chosen to captain his school side, which he discovers as he eagerly races into the classroom and checks the squad list pinned up on the wall to see his name.

Later, Chilwell attends his first Leicester training session at Belvoir Drive, not forgetting the same scarf he was gifted for Christmas. He hangs it up on his designated peg and heads out for a kick-about with his new teammates.

Fast forward and the 23-year-old, who is now an England international, steps out onto the pitch at the King Power Stadium alongside first-team players, Hamza Choudhury and Harvey Barnes, in a dramatic wide shot, still clinging on to the neckwear.

Chilwell hands the scarf, which now appears to be slightly worse for wear, to a young, female fan – of a similar age to that which he was when he received it as a present – on his way out of the tunnel, and finally parts with it now that his ambitions have been fulfilled. 

No dialogue is needed to tell this powerful narrative. The scarf is symbolic of Chilwell’s hopes and dreams that have stayed with him throughout his career, from a budding infant playing for his primary school team to a grown man representing his country on the biggest stage of them all.

The advert not only covertly promotes the club’s new apparel range – much so that you almost forget the underlying aim of the advert is to sell club-branded merchandise – but most importantly, it implies that the next recipient of a Leicester City scarf could skipper the side in the near future and become the next Ben Chilwell.