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How Starling Bank challenged the male-dominated football industry


By Amy Houston | Senior Reporter

June 21, 2023 | 5 min read

The campaign by the communications agency Third City won in the Finance category at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA 2023.

Starling - 01

Starling Bank's winning ad / Starling

In the lead-up to the Uefa Women’s Euros, Starling Bank created the first-ever fantasy football league for the tournament in a campaign devised and delivered by Third City.

The Brief

Starling, the only UK bank founded by a woman, wanted to further its support of the Uefa Women’s Euros and challenge the male-dominated industry. The bank sought to create a campaign that combined football with its financial expertise. The goal was to launch the first-ever fantasy football game for the Women’s Euros, promoting the tournament and boosting brand awareness.

The Idea

Recognizing the stark absence of fantasy leagues for women’s football despite their popularity in men’s tournaments, Starling decided to tackle the issue head-on. It developed a Football Fantasy game for the Uefa Women’s Euros to generate greater engagement with the event. This initiative aligned with Starling’s mission of helping people improve their budgeting skills and promoting discussions about female footballers. Additionally, as media exposure for male players far exceeded that of female players, the brand hoped to elevate the profiles of the Lionesses through its campaign.

The Results

The Fantasy Football promotion and star-building program proved to be a success, yielding significant media coverage and social media exposure for the bank. The campaign reached a total audience of 76.5 million people. Moreover, the game attracted over 4,000 registered players, surpassing industry averages in engagement metrics.

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Starling’s Fantasy Football campaign successfully fulfilled its objectives, driving brand awareness, engaging fans and promoting women’s football. By combining its financial expertise with the excitement of the Uefa Women’s Euros, Starling proved its commitment to challenging traditional norms in the industry while supporting women’s representation in sports.

This campaign won at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA 2023. Find out more about The Drum’s Global Awards program or head to our case studies hub to read more award-winning stories.

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