Budweiser had extended its longstanding partnership with the English FA to encompass the Lionesses, with a mission to break down the misconceptions that still surround the women’s game.
The strategy was to use the sociability of beer to help put the team firmly into the mainstream by rallying support among casual fans – who don’t closely follow the sport but enjoy the big cultural moment of a World Cup. Crucial to this was creating an emotional link between fans and team, as had been seen the previous summer. We wanted to use our brand to ensure that the England women’s team had its place in the limelight.
This was a true, two-way partnership. For Budweiser it meant alignment with a team that embodies its brand values better than any other, during the year’s key sporting event. For the Lionesses, it meant more positive exposure during a pivotal moment for the game.
We created a platform for the Lionesses to shine – treating them as a premium beer would any other football team, regardless of gender – to rally (new) support and build an emotional bond with the team among the nation at large. There is no better way for fans to come together to cheer on the country, for possibly the first time, than over a bottle of Bud.
But for the all-American King of Beers to rally support for the England women’s team meaningfully, we needed to tap into authentic English culture.
We looked back into English history to channel the spirit of one of Lioness’s forbears: Queen Elizabeth I.
She had stood alone against Europe and challenged conventions of what women were “supposed” to do.
And her legendary 1588 speech at Tilbury speech in the face of the Spanish Armada had not only rallied her nation but featured the eerily relevant line: “You may think I have the body of a weak and feeble woman – but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England, too.”
It was perfect.
We breathed new life into her words by recruiting an array of English talent who’d followed in her footsteps, creating an emotive rallying cry for the country to get behind the Lionesses.
Turned around in 10 days, without player access due to training camps, our talent included: Rachel Yankey, the UK’s first professional female footballer; actor Naomie Harris; actor, playwright and author Zawe Ashton; and Nicola Adams, the first female Olympic boxing champion in history. Between them were three OBEs, eight gold medals, including two Olympic titles, three top-10 albums, a fashion label, and an Academy Award nomination. And, of course, the content was directed by a woman: the award-winning Laura Scrivano.
Seeded by talent in the first instance, the video was then supported across paid media, PR and digital channels, and in store. Partnerships with Joe.co.uk and TV historian Lucy Worseley helped us extend the campaign – and support for the Lionesses – beyond existing fans of women’s football.
Budweiser also became the first UK beer to feature female footballers on its packaging.
- 233 million
- 1.2 billion
- Media reach
- Celebrities shared content on social channels