Chemistry Proves Serious Female Athletes Deserve Serious Support
Gaelic Football is one of Ireland’s national sports. It’s not just a pastime: it is rooted in the very fabric of Irish culture. It is more than just part of the community, it creates communities.
Like most major sports around the world, the focus is on the men’s game. This is reflected in its support, media coverage and sponsorships (the national championship is so big, it has three title sponsors). In other words, the men’s game is the game.
Women also play Gaelic Football. They work as hard, train as hard and are just as committed. But they don’t get the same recognition.
In late 2015, Lidl signed up as sponsor of Ladies Gaelic Football. Being a discounter and a somewhat alien concept for a mostly female Irish consumer, Lidl were once themselves a side-show to the main players in the grocery sector. They themselves had fought hard to be taken seriously.
Chemistry saw this sponsorship as an opportunity for Lidl to assert its challenger brand position and also to challenge accepted norms, however wrong, within Irish culture. This would achieve the broader objective of encouraging more women to play sport and be taken seriously doing so.
Chemistry's research proved that most people didn’t believe that women could play as seriously or as competitively as their male counterparts. The only people in no doubt were the players themselves.
A traditional approach may have affected small change on seemingly obvious targets - Lidl’s core consumer, “mum,” the very small number people interested in women’s sport and the even smaller number of people interested in Ladies Gaelic Football.
But the agency really wanted to affect change on a societal level so developed a two phase approach to maximize impact.
Phase 1 – Agitate: Confront the unconscious negative attitudes that prevailed and compel people to feel outraged.
Chemistry did this by using all of these negative attitudes to create a spoof product, the “Ladyball”, a pink ball that was soft and easy to play with. It was marketed like a real product, with its own website, a soft launch through PR and social media, followed by an above-the-line campaign. Although weeks in preparation, this phase was only live for 3 days. Social media and digital were integral as the agency needed to create a massive pool of negative support to re-target with positive support in Phase 2.
Phase 2 – Support: Re-direct the outrage we created towards the unfair treatment of women in sport and use it to demonstrate why these women deserved Serious Support.
Chemistry then revealed that Lidl were behind Ladyball. The agency quickly followed up with a large scale advertising campaign designed to portray Ladies Gaelic Footballers as the true heroes they were, a custom normally associated with men. We hijacked a high profile international men’s rugby match to launch our 60 second TVC and supported this with large format outdoor, high impact digital and social media.
Category: Retail and restaurants , Supermarkets
Genre: Activation , Digital , PR , Print , Strategy/Insight , Stunts