With increased attention on the recent triumph of USA’s Women’s Soccer Team in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup -- reaching a total of roughly 14.3 million viewers according to AdAge-- advertisers have utilized this sensational global sporting competition as a focal point to promote their brands.
In the months leading up to the Cup, we saw that major brands like Nike, Procter & Gamble (P&G), and Visa were quick to recognize opportunities to support the US Women’s team.
P&G stood behind the sports team with their Secret Deodorant "Equal Work. Equal Sweat. Equal Pay.” campaign. The video, which appeared in Pathmatics Explorer starting in early March, features US Soccer player Alex Morgan and promotes women’s equality-- a timely choice in the wake of the recent lawsuit filed by the women’s team against the US Soccer Federation.
Visa also chimed in on the message of gender equality last week, promoting Women’s World Cup ads on Facebook and desktop video producing over 32 million impressions on these ads.
Nike: The Brand That Came Out On Top
Given the success of the USA Women’s team in past years and the hype surrounding the World Cup in the US, it’s not surprising that Nike would use the event as an advertising opportunity. With the recent release of their “Never Stop Winning” ad on July 7th, Nike’s campaign overshadowed competitors, with their video reaching over 4 million views on Youtube.
According to a piece from CNN, the ad not only celebrates the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) as a whole, but further promotes the team’s resistance against the controversial pay gap within the US Soccer Federation.
Nike and Gender Equality
As a sponsor for the USWNT, as well as 13 other teams in the World Cup, Nike profits from jersey sales around the world that feature their logo. Likewise, Nike markets these jerseys with ties to inspirational athletes, such as the US Women's National Team, victors of the World Cup. As such, a recent marketing strategy by the Nike brand advertises a jersey inspired by one of the USWNT's players, representing a modern, powerful and strong woman who celebrates her power and her individuality.
In their campaigns, Nike continues their message of empowerment to all woman, not just those who stand in the spotlight. The brand's "#DreamWithUS" hashtag stands to empower all women regardless of age, ethnicity, background, encouraging them to believe in themselves and continue to fight for gender equality.
Taken from Pathmatics Explorer, data depicts Nike’s spending pattern over the course of a month. Spending on the brand’s social sky-rocketed between the 4th and 8th of July (the 7th is when the US team won it all), jumping from just above $30 Thousand to well over $1 Million dollars.
Pathmatics data also displays that Nike’s gross social spend exceeds $10 Million, collecting over a billion impressions since the start of the year.
Surprisingly, a gender breakdown of Facebook targeting for Nike reveals Nike’s target audience still skews male, despite the brand’s latest promotion of gender equality for women’s athletics.
Perhaps Nike is simply promoting the USWNT, to use their powerful position for change, or maybe they’re utilizing the USWNT’s tagline for ‘women’s empowerment’ as a way to increase their rate of sales in a market outside of their target audience. Time will tell, but we expect to see more women's empowerment ads from these and other brands in the future.
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Featured Image: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
With over a decade of experience across digital marketing, content, creative, and PR, Sarah is a creative and dynamic thinker who loves to delight clients with unique and relatable content. Sarah graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology.