TV advertisers will alienate women during World Cup final

Some of Britain’s biggest TV advertisers will be spending heavily on World Cup final ad slots this Sunday. And with the cost of a 30-second spot estimated at up to £300,000 the stakes are high. Unfortunately most brands are aiming their ads squarely at male viewers even though research indicates that 38 per cent of UK women will be watching the footie too.

A study by London-based research company The Nursery has found that big World Cup advertisers who rely on the game and its stars in their creative treatments are leaving Britain’s women cold. But all is not lost for advertisers. Cheekier brands which don‘t take football too seriously, like condom maker Durex, are much more likely to score with female viewers.

“Advertisers such as Nike and Adidas are relying on the football and footballers in their commercials,” explained Alice Morgan, researcher at The Nursery. “There are plenty of women who enjoy the World Cup but they often think that players are overpaid and they are cynical about the game itself. These sports brands can risk alienating the significant proportion of the female population that is watching.”

The research showed that women enjoy the World Cup for its inclusivity and fun, appreciating the global coming together of the event and the added dimension brought by the Brazilian location. Too much concentration on the serious side of football and the players prompts feelings that the event is over-hyped and boring.

Women expect beer brands such as Carlsberg and Budweiser to target men with ‘blokey’ football themed advertising but the Bud ad’s cinematic take on the World Cup was no match for the down to earth humour offered by Carlsberg.

McDonalds’ inclusive play on football and use of female characters as a natural part of the story also appealed but Listerine’s creation of a World Cup ad was described as “crass opportunism” by the women surveyed who could see no genuine connection between the product and the event. While Vauxhall gained marks for patriotism from some women – and lost them for jingoism among others – the other major car advertiser, Kia, appeared to confuse more women than it attracted. “Why are Kia building stadiums?” “They’ve just stuck a stadium in there and said ‘that looks like a World Cup ad’”, were among the derisive comments made by the women surveyed.

Surprise package Durex made the best impression among British women by creating an ad which was considered “refreshing and very funny” and centred on outrageous diving in football, featuring the end line ‘Don’t Fake It’.

“Some of the biggest brands in the world have missed an opportunity to engage with women watching the tournament,” added Morgan. “Too many have bought into the hype of Ronaldo and co on the pitch, and have missed the power of the World Cup to bring people together and have fun.”

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