The 2023 Women’s World Cup is here so to celebrate, we dived into all things football, looking into the progression of the women’s game.
In 2019 we were given a handful of Women’s World Cup ads, but many fell into the trap of making the game seem like a charitable cause, instead of a celebratory explosion of football. However, four years later, the game has changed and these athletes are now household names.
So have brands been able to keep up?
ITV's The Pride Has Arrived
As ITV is one of the main channels covering the Women’s World Cup you would expect an ad showcasing the formidable force that makes up the England squad. Sadly, this was not the case.
Instead, we were left feeling slightly perplexed as to why we just watched the urban remake of The Jungle Book. Aside from escaping CGI lions, where is the football? Where’s the excitement? Where’s the acknowledgement of all our talented amazing players?
Over the past 4 years the Lionesses’ have grown into household names and, unfortunately, this ad doesn’t seem to capture this success, bringing little anticipation or hype to the lead-up of the Women's World Cup.
Bud, you're getting there, but there is room to improve.
It’s great to see players with the sporting calibre of Lionel Messi getting behind the women's game, as this can help break away from the misogynistic misconceptions that surround the game. However, we don’t see a female until around 15 seconds, so this detracts from what this ad is really all about—the Women’s World Cup.
The line is also a little condescending. These players have already achieved greatness, they are the world's top talent, therefore to imply that they are anything less is transporting us back to ‘women’s football is charitable cause’ territory that dominated in 2019.
Orange's Les Bleues
We haven’t seen a twist this good since the ending of Saw.
This ad by Orange is just simply downright clever.
It hooked us in from the beginning and then gave us an ending we never saw coming. Les Bleues shows that football is football, and gender should have little to do with that.
It’s a simple execution using game footage, with a touch of fancy editing, to provide an incredibly emotion-filled story.
We still don’t love the fact that most of the ad is filled with the French national male team, but it does use its popularity for good, not evil.
Nike's What the Football?
Okay, first things first: what kind of heathen leaves a banana peel on the carpet? But we’re willing to let it slip and slide because this ad is *chef’s kiss* (and Who’s That Girl? is such a tune).
The feeling of waking up from a coma requiring a 60-second rundown on women’s football will no doubt resonate with many. Nike’s line ‘Know their name. Know their game’ elevates women’s football above the homogenous ‘we’re just as good as the boys’ messaging we saw back in 2019. Then, it was all about proving their worth. Now, it’s all about celebrating the players' individuality and their respective superpowers.
It’s not just enough to know the name on the back of the shirt, we want to know what they’re known for and how they play. Each player has a unique storyline, full of humorous undertones and an almost over-the-top visually stimulating delivery. But we are totally here for it.
It's about time this level of production and quality is thrown at these players.
Just in time for kick-off down under, we can say we have moved leaps and bounds in the past few years, showcasing the originality, creativity and world-class talent on show that is just oozing out of these female footballers. With that being said, like in every sporting event where there are amazing ads, there will also be ads that simply send shivers down your spine (and not in a good way).
The women’s game is growing rapidly, it’s an exciting time, so brands better catch up or be prepared to be left on the bench.
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