Eurobest

WoMen's football

MARCEL, Paris / ORANGE / 2023

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Overview

Background

This summer, the French women's football team played in its 5th World Cup, in a unique context. Up until a few weeks before the competition, no media organization had stepped in to buy the broadcasting rights for the event.

In a country where football is a passion, women's football is left out of the fervor. One of the reasons is prejudice about its lack of technical skills. Many fans have a strong opinion about it, without ever having watched a match, or having looked at biased compilations ("The worst of women's football", "100% fails women's football”…)

This is why the WWC was a key moment for Orange, a committed partner of football for 24 years, to go beyond its usual support for the French Women's Team, via a CSR brief whose main objective was to tackle the prejudices that women's football suffers from.

Idea

To challenge football fans' preconceived notions, we used their love of beautiful technical moves to create a Trojan horse. We created a never-before-seen compilation of actions from players of the French men's team. For 1 minute, we see the beautiful play of Mbappé, Giroud, Griezmann, etc..., in a sequence that borrows from the codes of sports best-of videos.

The reveal then unveils the ruse: the video was in reality a compilation of... women’s technical moves! Thanks to VFX effects, the appearance of the French woman's team has been faked in the 1st part of the compilation, to serve a strong message. These skillful women's actions, without VFX, are replayed in the 2nd part of the video, so that the audience can admire them, stripped away from the filter of their gender stereotypes.

Strategy

Our primary target was football fans, with the objective of confronting their preconceptions about the technical nature of women's football, by removing the filter of their gender bias. To target them, the Compil des Bleues was broadcast in a football-centric ecosystem, through digital and social media (L'Équipe, Bein, Foot Mercato, Fédération Française de Football accounts, and the accounts of players from the 2 French teams, etc.), and via football influencers (Youtube, Twitter, Snapchat). The viral nature of the campaign worldwide quickly spread its reach wider: our message ultimately resonated to a mainstream audience.

Execution

To orchestrate the virality of the campaign, we worked on the most engaging platform for football fans: Twitter. Since our intent was to expose them to women’s actions with the filter of their gender bias turned off, we decided to go all the way and prank them. We capitalized on the account of an influencer with medium visibility but very high engagement. This Twitter account first posted only the first part of the Compil des Bleues (= the women's technical moves 'disguised' as men's players), before revealing the trickery a few hours later to its community by posting it in full…

Engagement surrounding these 2 tweets was very high, kick-starting mainstream media PR in France: within a day of the tweet, 8 mainstream media outlets were picking up on the video. This meticulous orchestration allowed the Compil to go viral, first in Europe, then around the world.

In addition to the prank/reveal launch, the content itself had to be crafted to trick our audience: of course, with indetectable VFX in the first part of the video, but also with a fast-paced editing, completely mimicking the style of online best-of videos. The final video’s quality was even downgraded, to have the exact same feel these best-of videos have: most of them are ripped by football fans, with low to medium quality footage from matches. The final touch to our illusion was the soundtrack, with an high BPM and an epic feel that brought the ruse together.

Outcome

The video went viral in only days, and successfully fueled debate the biases women’s football suffers from.

> +2B impressions

> +200M organic views, with a high complexion rate.

> +450 cross-media PR coverage in 91 countries: articles, TV & radio, podcasts…

> Influential relays from opinion leaders of all sectors: from the French Minister for Sport to Alexis Ohanian, from Daniel Storey and Gary Lineker. Football players also shared and gave exposure to the video: Cascarino, Matuidi, Le Sommer, Guendouzi, Henry, Dembélé, Griezmann...

> Strong attribution to Orange, in media and social conversations. The brand was even mentioned at a press conference when a journalist asked the players their thought about the video.

> Reactions were overwhelmingly positive, and to this day, the Compil des Bleues continues to be relayed, as a piece of content materializing the issue of gender bias in sports and helping overcome it.

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