The New Reality Post Women’s World Cup
If we judge from the TV ratings alone – the Women’s World Cup, that concluded with a famous win for defending champions USA over the European champion Netherlands – has been a huge success.
In the UK, England’s semifinal loss to the USA was the most watched television programme of the year at 11.7m people at its peak.
88% of people watching TV in the Netherlands watched the final, and in Brazil, a staggering 19.93 million people watched the game despite Brazil not being present.
Want some eye-popping commercial proof too?
Nike has reported that the USA replica women’s jersey is the highest selling soccer jersey ever sold on its website – male or female.
After the last proclaimed watershed for women in football, the 1999 World Cup, this tournament feels much more like the real thing. Why? There are 3 distinct reasons. Over the last 10 years, there has been a much greater investment into the development of players, facilities and coaching, resulting in a new generation of technically outstanding players.
Additionally, Multinational brands such as Nike, Adidas and Visa have publicly committed to initiatives, such as equal prize money for male and female athletes, attempting to repair the disparity between the genders. But, most notably, the 2019 tournament was broadcast across a digital and social media landscape that has provided a much better platform for the women’s game.
When Snoop Dogg takes to social media to deride a world where the back to back World Champion Women’s US team will earn $90,000 for their efforts, versus their male compatriots (who have failed to qualify for the last World Cup) earning $500,000, things have reached the mainstream consciousness!
Heroes have emerged. The US captain, Megan Rapinoe has cemented her status as a modern cultural icon by a series of searing statements during the tournament including rebuffing the idea of meeting President Trump, and proclaiming “you can’t win a championship without Gays”.
Why is this especially relevant to us at Bold? Prior to the tournament, we were honoured to contribute to the Female Chapter of Copa90’s Modern Fan Report – interviewing some of the most important women in the game.
The interviews were a precursor of what was about to happen over the summer of 2019 and the sport of women’s football. Head of the Women’s Game in the UK, Kelly Simmons told us: “Powerful, athletic, confident, strong women playing football to a fantastic level is going to be a powerful message to both men and women that women can do anything”.
So what can we learn as a creative industry? We can only share our personal point of view and that is… The Women’s World Cup has highlighted many positives and negatives of society today, but it is undeniable that audiences (especially younger audiences) are increasingly progressive – shedding the dogmas for the past, redefining what they could and should engage with.
That should be a significant wake-up call for those of us creating brands, identities and campaigns. The stereotypes of gender, race and sex are changing rapidly and we must create in a way that reflects that audience reality. A reality that expects equality, sustainability and ingenuity to be at the heart of everything we do!