By The Drum, Editorial

May 30, 2024 | 6 min read

Winning Sports and PR Gold in The Drum Awards for Marketing APAC is Recognising The Trailblazers of Female Football, The OG’s from Bursty for PUMA. Here is the award-winning case study.

Executive Summary

Entering into its ninth edition, the Fifa 2023 Women’s World Cup was tipped to be “the biggest” female sporting event in history. Much more than a sporting event, this was a highly-anticipated cultural moment in time to celebrate not only the best players in the world, but also those who have paved the way to make the spectacle what it is today.

2023 happened to be PUMA’s 75th year, an incredible milestone and one to be celebrated by revisiting and highlighting the rich legacy of the brand and the role it has played over time within sports and culture. Take this milestone and merge with the biggest cultural event of the year, the brief was set to drive brand love by creating a moment that put PUMA at the forefront of the conversation celebrating its legacy and the ongoing commitment to women’s sport.


Despite having strong representation through globally renowned female footballers participating in the tournament, the challenge was PUMA was not an official partner of the tournament or the Australian or New Zealand Team national teams rendering such opportunities null and void. So with IP strictly governed by tournament organizers and key competitors in pole position (Adidas as the official tournament sponsor, Nike as the official AU/NZ apparel partner - not to mention representing the world's number 1 player) how does PUMA capture the hearts and minds of the nation and organically insert themselves into the tournament and come away as the cultural winners in the eyes of the public?


PUMA to partner with the first ever nationally representative players from the Australian & New Zealand 1975 Asian cup tournament, the 1975’ers, the ‘OG’s.

PUMA may have been prohibited from talking about the present, so instead we decided to take ownership and drive the narrative around the history and the future of Women’s Football in Australia and New Zealand. Football is a game of stories, the OG’s despite their trailblazing 1975 Asian cup efforts had gone unrecognized by the local governing bodies, their story yet to be told. Convention tells us that media outlets and broadcasters would be looking for rich storytelling opportunities to provide ‘color’ for the tournament with an emphasis on showing how far we have come. Thus, a campaign was born.

The 1975’ers, The ‘OG’s

This Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for these trailblazers, these OG's. The campaign aimed to pay our respects and connect them to the next generation, the ‘Next G's. They paved the way (and paid their own way!) without the recognition, without the credit, without the respect. until now. The campaign brought the teams together again, flying them in multiple times from around the country and beyond to feature them in a multi-channel marketing campaign akin to how PUMA would market its modern-day stars - The publicity, the photo and content shoots, the social media, the billboards, the media coverage and interviews. These were no longer ‘old ladies’, they were football stars.

The Accelerators, The ‘Next G’s

With ownership of the history firmly in PUMA’s grasp, big tournaments are all about legacy. To connect past with the future PUMA hosted a 4-day ‘Female Footballer Accelerator program’ featuring a mix of inspiring guest speakers and unique experiences, for 23 female football players aged between 14-17, selected from Australia & New Zealand to further develop their skills off the pitch to help them succeed on the pitch. All the while, connecting the stories of the OG's and these next G’s with Australia's and New Zealand’s best content creators and storytellers to create and tell the stories of these amazing women.

Campaign Execution

The campaign was executed in 2 key phases. 1 month out from the opening match of the tournament we launched the campaign on social media featuring an emotive video of our trailblazers reading out a heartfelt letter from the GM of PUMA Oceania finally recognizing them for their 1975 achievements and contribution to the game. This emotional tearjerker led to team representatives being invited to share their stories on national TV and radio with a host of written and digital editorial coverage to follow. Once the word was out and the campaign gained traction the energy shifted to a celebratory tone, PUMA announced it would host a rematch 48 years in the making to honor these two teams and connect the OG’s with the ‘Next G’s’. The event was hyped emulating the conventions of the tournament and modern day football marketing with tactical OOH media purchased in key locations featuring the OG’s, team TikTok channels were created to showcase the personalities and get the public to know who these women were, even a squad announcement video was launched featuring high profile PUMA ambassadors reading out the names and positions and subsequently sharing to their own channels.

Phase 2 saw the creation of a bespoke pitch built on an island in the middle of Sydney Harbour, the focal point of the tournament. The weekend had a festival flair with the pitch playing a multi-purpose role from announcing PUMA’s latest research and innovation into Women’s specific boots and reducing ACL injuries, hosting a junior football skills program on behalf of key commercial retail partner ‘Rebel Rookies’, an influencer match doubling as a content creation setting and the Accelerator program. With the OG’s having now captured the attention of the public, the rematch was a great success with local and global media outlets attending en masse to cover the game and ceremonies pertaining to their recognition as the OG’s and trailblazers of Australia and New Zealand Football.


Overall, the campaign generated 457 individual pieces of media coverage resulting in an earned media reach of 98M.

Ready to get your work recognized on a global stage? Enter The Drum Awards today. Need more inspiration, read our Award Winning Case Studies.

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