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The future’s looking bright

The Women’s World Cup is in full swing, and we’re discussing how branding, representation and the power of social media is making for a bright future.

Author

Georgia Preston

Date

16.08.2023

With the Women’s World Cup coming to a close this Sunday, we’ve been reflecting on how far Women’s football has come, but how there is still such a long way to go for it to be recognised in the same way as Men’s football.

As we rally around the Lionesses on their quest to the final, we’re speaking to some of the women from IMA-HOME who also have a love for the game, to hear why they think the future of Women’s football is bright, and what we can do to make it even brighter.

Alice Banham – Senior Copywriter

“As a female footballer who loves all things colourful and creative, you can imagine my pure joy back in 2020 when the Women’s World Cup ‘23 logo and branding was revealed. In the past few years, with the TV broadcasting of the Women’s Super League, and especially since the Lionesses’ euphoric performance and victory of Euros ’22, we’ve proved women’s football in the UK has a lot to offer. But a few years ago, when this branding was revealed, we were still very much operating in the shadow of the men’s game. Constantly being compared as a lesser version instead of being appreciated in our own right. And to be honest, our marketing felt that way. A copycat of our male counterpart’s branding.

As an advertising creative, it frustrated me. Because when advertising a challenger brand – you don’t market what it has in common with its main competitor. You find the USP and sell what makes it different. And finally, that’s what this new World Cup ’23 branding by Public Address and Works Collective felt like it encompassed. Celebrating not just the sport itself – but the bright, warm buzz that makes being at a women’s game (or even watching in public on a big screen) a totally different experience.”

Read more from Alice on the topic, here.

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Natassja Woollhouse – Accounts Assistant

“Football has always been a part of my life since a young age, it was my outlet for stress and to this day helps massively with my Mental Health.

When I was younger, women’s football felt looked down on. I remember people taking the micky when I said I played football. I had to beg the teachers at my school to let me do Football as part of my GCSE PE because boys did rugby and football, girls did netball and hockey, neither of which I had any interest in. So, when the opportunity came for me and my partner to start a ladies team in Halifax we jumped at the chance.

As well as playing for the team, I manage our social media, and through the power of advertising we managed to get 15 girls attend the very first training session for the Crossley Belles Open Age team. It's great to see how the game is changing as it becomes easier to find and connect female players within communites due to social media. Three months in, we now have 27 registered players ready for our season starting in September which I am absolutely blown away with. Every player on our team is treat like family, and as such every player has stuck with us. I’m grateful to also have the support of IMA-HOME, who were more than happy to be a sponsor.

My passion for the sport and optimism I have for the future of women’s football is what prompted me to contact HerGameToo, a community interest company who exist to tackle sexism and champion women in sport. Our values and passion for encouraging women into the sport aligned, so I’m thrilled to now have our team be partnered with them.

Women's football is certainly growing, and I'm proud to be involved in a team who continue to raise the profile of women's football as much as possible.”

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Ella Kennedy – Talent Acquisition Manager

“Recently we saw Orange France’s ad, using clever CGI to show that women’s football is just as exhilarating and skilful as men’s football. This was reinforced just last week, as Chloe Kelly's penalty beat the fastest strike of the Premier League last season. If football fans could only see past the fact it’s played by women!

The Orange France ad showcases female footballers, disguised as their male counterparts, playing exceptional football and eliciting the roaring reaction we are so accustomed to seeing in this male dominated sport. At first glance, I found the advert to be a thought-provoking piece that shows our investment in men’s football over the women’s, only runs skin deep. But it also reminded me that it matters so much how we represent women in the advertisement of sports if the narrative is going to shift in the right direction.

We just don’t see the thrilling, aspirational and affirming depictions of women in football that we are accustomed to seeing of the men. More often, women are shown to be beating the odds, facing adversity and throwing their hands defiantly up in the air whilst they shout, ‘this girl can!’. It’s so good to see great advertising that picks up on much more than just the struggle of the female athlete, showcasing their exceptional skill, and throwing the ownness back on to the audience to consider why that skill isn’t celebrated as loudly. Representation of women in sports advertising (and advertising in general) is imperative to creating equality in the industry, and how we make those representations will affect how deeply that change goes."


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