Fifa Women’s World Cup Brand Strategy Women's Football

Brands have been quiet around the Women’s World Cup – but it’s not too late

By Joe Burdon, Head of Sport and Entertainment

The Romans


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July 14, 2023 | 6 min read

The Fifa Women’s World Cup kicks off next week – but if you’ve noticed a weird lack of brand activity, you’re not alone. Here, Joe Burdon of The Romans investigates.

A football, on grass

It's fast approaching, but there's still plenty of ground to win for brands ready to get involved in the Women's World Cup / Ben Hershey via Unsplash

The way that the Fifa Women’s World Cup has been deprioritized by broadcasters and brands is well documented – and largely at odds with public thinking.

Those who have planned for the next couple of months in advance as part of their long-term women’s football strategy will hugely benefit. But here’s my message to everyone else:

It isn’t too late.

With one week to go until the tournament starts, and well over a month until (I hope!) England lift the trophy on August 20th, here’s how brands can still get involved in a meaningful way.

1. Contingency plan on social

Don’t wait until that penalty is missed before getting your witty social copy into the client approval layer cake. Plan for scenarios pre-tournament, and have clients ready to approve on WhatsApp before you go live… or just have clients (like ours) who trust us to post what we want.

2. Begin talent conversations now

Agents’ phones will be ringing off the hook during and post-tournament, so getting a feel for talent costs and preferences is a good idea.

Similarly with clients: float the idea of working with the potential stars of the tournament now. It will feel less like a piggyback, and give your campaign more chance of launching before the next major tournament, The 2025 Uefa Women’s Championships in Switzerland.

3. Celebrate the event

We’ll be hosting a viewing party for clients and agency staff – not “because we did it for the men”, but because England are playing in the World Cup. (And because we have a cinema.)

It may be too late to deliver a fully-integrated brand partnership, but it's never too late to get swept up in the excitement, which is kind of the whole point.

4. Counterattack

Being an official partner of a tournament comes with significant benefits, such as tangible investment in the game, commitment to your audience’s passion points, and player access. But it’s also a considerable financial commitment, often coupled with red tape. Use this as an opportunity to be more agile, and more colloquial with how you communicate.

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5. Use the time difference to your advantage

Of course, there’s a space here for the drinks, sporting and telecoms giants. But what time will the matches be airing where you are? In the UK, our nations’ games will be played in our morning-time, so there’s a natural space for brands operating in different sectors – perhaps breakfast, coffee, or employee engagement.

There’s also an added benefit of being able to watch the game, then instantly going outside to play that day, which opens up the parenting and sports participation sectors.

6. Embrace fan culture

Sure, the top players will sell soft drinks, but how are fans behaving? They’re the ones making the purchase. What are they wearing? Where are they watching? What time of day is the match? What meal are they eating while they watch? Which language are they swearing at the TV in?

Criminally (and counter-intuitively), fan culture surrounding a major tournament is often overlooked. This is where much quicker wins are often found.

This tournament will vindicate those who have decided to back the showpiece event in Women’s football – and hopefully act as a catalyst for brands that have previously not considered sport to prioritize it moving forwards.

Fifa Women’s World Cup Brand Strategy Women's Football

Content by The Drum Network member:

The Romans

We’re bored of boring PR. Founded in 2015 and backed by advertising agency Mother, our team has worked with some of the world’s most exciting brands and created...

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