This post is by Luca Massaro, managing director of WePlay.
It is no secret that sports events give brands a huge platform to advertise. We only have to look at the Superbowl back in February and the 2014 FIFA World Cup to see the vast amounts of money that sponsors and those brands wanting to 'ambush' spend on being a part of the conversation.
In a gap year between the men's FIFA World Cup and next year's UEFA European Cup, it may be assumed that there aren't many sporting talking points in between. However, the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada has become something of a major point of engagement for fans and brands this summer.
With the recent success of campaigns such as Sport England's "This Girl Can" and the women's England football team claiming their place in the semi-finals, interest in women's sport is rapidly growing. According to FIFA, the Women's World Cup will reach around 30 million female football players and more than 300 million fans worldwide, while the BBC is broadcasting every game for the first time. The growing interest in women's football since the first FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991, is clearly presenting a big opportunity for brands. Here we look at some the brands already tapping into this growing trend.
One of FIFA's main sponsors, Adidas, an ever present brand in football marketing, is using the FIFA Women's World Cup as a chance to showcase two products from their new boot range through their #BeTheDifference campaign. To date, the campaign on Instagram has featured Canadian footballer Jonelle Filigno and German footballer Melanie Leupolz. On Twitter, the campaign has featured the women's team wearing the Adidas kit.
Another one of FIFA's main sponsors Coca Cola introduced the 'Trophy Tour' for the Women's World Cup. Before the tournament started, Coca Cola took the trophy on a tour round Canada giving fans the chance to get up-close-and-personal with the trophy.
As an official sponsor of the England women's football team, Continental Tyres UK introduced their #RoadToCanada campaign ahead of the Women's World Cup. The tyre company conducted an interview series with four players, which resulted in four powerful, emotional and inspirational pieces of video content.
Chevrolet launched their behind the scenes video series with the US women's team using the hashtag #AllGirlsPlay. Chevrolet, the official vehicle sponsor of US soccer, is using its ChevroletFC.com website, as well as its Chevrolet FC social handles to engage fans by posting videos and asking them to tweet their questions using #AshUSSoccer.
Nike also incorporated digital video into its World Cup campaign, releasing their "American Women" commercial. The one minute video shows the team preparing for the tournament, while also showing young amateur women footballers working on their skills.
US Soccer Federation
The US Soccer Federation launched their #SheBelieves campaign asking fans to use the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to deliver positive messages to the team. The #SheBelieves campaign stretched across a number of other brands including Trident, Ritz and Chips Ahoy, whom also used the hashtag when posting related World Cup content.
Have brands missed the boat?
The Women's World Cup has been a great success in both delivering an entertaining spectacle and in raising awareness of women's football – but is it a missed opportunity for brands? It is clear that for this particular tournament there has been far more appetite from US brands in comparison to the UK.
We know that women's football is clearly still a challenger in the scope of things. As we analyse those brands that did activate a sponsorship, we wonder if the Women's World Cup in Canada offered too big a risk, particularly with major tournaments such as Rugby World Cup 2015 (UK) and Euro 2016 (France) on the horizon. What can be said is after Rugby 2015 and Euro 2016 have been and gone, we'll all be looking towards the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 with anticipation.