The eighth women’s world cup began this month, with 24 teams competing from across the world for one of the most prestigious football titles in the world. Building on a record-breaking tournament in Canada in 2015, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France has already sold nearly one million tickets and is on track to reach its target of 1 billion viewers; a reflection of the growing interest in women’s sport as a whole.
The popularity of women’s sport in recent years undoubtedly stems from an increase in conversations surrounding gender inequality worldwide. Whilst women’s sport is taking strides toward creating a more level playing field, issues such as the gender pay gap still remain largely unsolved, but the FIFA Women’s World Cup presents an exciting opportunity for brands to show their support for gender equality and engage with fans in new ways.
Making a Statement as a Brand
With 84% of general sports fans expressing an interest in women’s sports according to a Nielson report, the potential audiences for the FIFA Women’s World Cup has caught the attention of broadcasters and brands alike, securing mainstream media coverage and brand deals from the likes of Nike, Qatar Airways and Lucozade. By supporting the event, brands are showing their support for gender equality and women’s sport, which is then reinforced by the campaigns and advertisements that follow.
In support of England’s women’s football team, Lucozade’s campaign saw the rewriting of the unofficial men’s football anthem ‘Three Lions’ to make it ‘Three Lionesses’ with the new lyrics directly addressing the prejudices against women in sport. As part of this campaign, Lucozade also set themselves an objective to encourage more women to get into football by offering 90,000 minutes of free pitch time nationwide. As a result, not only are Lucozade having a positive influence on gender equality issues and women’s sports, but they’re positioning their brand as one that cares about these issues and – more importantly – one that will take actionable steps in tackling them.
With key themes such as authenticity, honesty and transparency resonating with Gen Z, clearly showcasing brand values and reinforcing this with action as Lucozade have done makes it easier to establish brand loyalty as consumers are increasingly making their decisions based on their morals and beliefs instead of the product alone.
To celebrate the FIFA Women's World Cup here at Icon, we've created these bespoke illustrations (above and below) and have been looking back at our work for Sport Swansea where we created a brand that featured both men’s and women’s sport, with a female footballer in particular featuring prominently across marketing materials and campus banners. Interested in finding out more? Get in touch or take a look at our Sport Swansea project here.