The Football Association (FA) and Mars Wrigley have renewed their longstanding partnership, but his time around the confectionary giant will not only be the official supporter of the England men's team – it will also support the England women's and disability teams.
The food group's decision to plant its stake on the pitch when it comes to inclusion comes just one year after it revealed that its Maltesers 2016 Paralympic campaign, which put disabled actors front and centre, was the brand's most successful marketing push in a decade.
With a renewed focus diversity paying off commercially for the brand, the fresh four-year deal with the FA will also see Mars continue to support the FA's 'Just Play' initiative.
The community project has long sought to get people of all ages, sizes and abilities off their sofas and onto local pitches in the UK, but it will now too place an emphasis on reaching out to a broader range of adults, including BAME individuals, women and those with disabilities.
Commenting on the announcement, Michele Oliver, Mars' vice-president of marketing, said the decision to partner with the women's and disability teams was indicative of how the brand's nine-year relationship with the FA was "evolving".
She added: "The worlds of both sport and business will be more successful by being more diverse and inclusive, and at Mars we hope our extended partnership with the FA can be a part of leading this change.
“At Mars I have been incredibly proud of the campaigns we have produced to support diversity and inclusion across our brands, and I could not be more excited to have to opportunity to work with The FA to push this agenda further within the national game.”
As well as a retuned inclusivity push, the renewed FA deal will see the relationship extend to all confectionery brands under the Mars Wrigley portfolio – including chocolate, sweets, ice cream, and chewing gum.
The Milky Way, Skittles and Whiskas owner has plans to develop integrated sponsorship campaigns across the range, as well as increase the scale and reach of the partnership nationwide.
The move from Mars comes as brands like Disney are pushing into women's football, with the latter having just launched a campaign to get young girls and their parents to get involved in the sport.
When it comes to disability in advertising, a recent study from Lloyds Bank study found that while almost 20% of the UK population has a disability, disabled people are only reflected in 0.6% of ads.