Glass: The Award For Change > Glass

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

MARCEL, Paris / ORANGE / 2023

Awards:

Grand Prix Eurobest
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Supporting Content
Film
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Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for Glass: The Award for Change?

Orange is the leading telecommunications provider in France and a historical sponsor of French football. As a former public service, its mission has always been to unite people. However, while the brand equally supports both the men's and women's national football teams, women's football still faces significant gender bias among fans, especially men.

So before the 2023 Women’s World Cup, to support the Women’s French team, Orange used gender bias to its advantage: since fans only want to watch men's football, we tricked them into watching women’s football without them knowing… at first.

Background

After getting this CSR brief from Orange, our research started by gathering data regarding the perception of women’s football. A study led by the Zurich University Sociology Department gave us useful insight. By exposing a group of 613 participants to blurred goals, the research reached the conclusion that perceived quality of actions is heavily filtered through gender stereotypes, with women being pre-judged as less technical.

We complemented this sociological input with our own social media listening: online commentary about women’s football and its supposed lack of technicality is often violent. It’s heavily fueled by sexist compilations of women's actions that proliferate online: "The worst of women's football", "100% fails women's football", "Top 10 sexy women's football actions". This gave us the perfect playing-field to fight back, and to expose football fans to women’ skills, with the filter of their gender bias being turned off.

Describe the cultural / social / political climate around gender representation and the significance of the work within this context

In France, the gender inequalities between men and women’ football are strong: the sport was one of the last one to be accessible to women, with the French Federation only allowing women to join in 1974. Since them, it’s evolution has been painfully slow, even if recent updates show promise: the significant increase in audiences during the 2019 Women Euro Cup, held in France, was proof that the potential was there.

Other countries have succeeded in bridging the gender inequalities in football, by investing to catch up on their delays. Brazil, for example, has decided for the last international women competitions to cancel office working hours during the Brazilian Women’s Team matches, as they do during the men’s; while Spain has decided to subsidize seats in major stadiums for women’s matches, so fans can gather and learn to love their teams for free, as a first step.

In France, the inequalities between the two were not tacked by institutional partners, and the controversy surrounding the broadcast of the World Cup was a painful reminder of their lack of interest. In this panorama, brand sponsors such as Orange stepping in was important.

Describe the creative 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.

Describe the 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.

Describe the execution

The campaign was first launched only on Twitter, which is the key platform for football conversations. 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.

Describe the results / impact

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

> +2B impressions

> +200M organic views

> +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 to Dan Povenmire. 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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