PUBLICIS ITALY, Milan / HEINEKEN / 2022
Heineken has been a proud sponsor of UCL since 1994.
Of Men's UCL.
But since 2022 Heineken expanded its sponsorship to women UCL.
With two-thirds of women in football having experienced gender discrimination, Heineken is on a mission to evolve its sponsorships in the sport to address the uneven playing field when it comes to gender by highlighting some of the ways that women are unfairly treated.
Heineken's first move was correcting the gender bias is to address inaccurate statistics present across the internet that are often the source of the prejudice through a webpage in partnership with GOAL that provides correct responses to the most popular questions asked online about the UEFA Champions League, where answers tend to overlook key data around the women's game.
The bias around the word “fan” is that everybody automatically thinks about a man. When in reality, almost half of the football fans across the globe are women.
Heineken wanted to correct the stereotype so it launched “Cheers to all fans. Men Included” - a film portraying the badass world of hardcore women fans demonstrating their commitment to the sport. This means trekking through bad weather to catch the game, slipping out to the restaurant loos to get the latest score, lingering in the stands after a defeat or egging on passers-by after a win and many more. Because this is what real fans do. Men included.
Being a strong partner of UCL since 1994, Heineken always used UCL to bring people together in front of the match.
And since extending the sponsorship to Women’s UCL, Heineken felt the need to challenge gender stereotypes in football like: if you are a true football fan you must be a man or if you are a woman you are not a real fan, especially since more than 4 out of 10 football fans are women.
Since many women are participating in football – either as fans, players, presenters or staff – there’s plenty more to be done to overcome toxic attitudes towards women’s place in the sport
While passion is a positive feeling there is something wonderful about the irrational things that football passion makes us do.
A kind of special stupidity, over the top-ness, all in, take no prisoners braindead mentality. One that is usually put on men, which is now also finally acknowledged to be part of womenhood.
The film brings to life all the wonderful nuances of women fandom, things like yelling, shouting and singing loudly when your team is on. Chest beating. Burping. Turning your car into a fan- monster truck.
At the time of writing, the campaign has just launched and it's been met by an overwhelmingly positive wave of comments. Both men and women started acknowledging the bias, discuss it and promote a healthy way of looking at the world of football and the world of football fans.