Wish you were here

Josh Green, Executive Creative Director at House 337’s sports practice, looks back at what might have been if brands had embraced the Women’s World Cup

Josh Green

Executive Creative Director House 337


The dust has settled after the thrilling 2023 Women's World Cup, but the question of missed opportunities still hovers in the air like Lina Hurtig's penalty that sent the USWNT home.

As previously discussed, FIFA's approach of imposing the men’s commercial model onto the women’s game has severely limited the potential of the 2023 World Cup from serving as the transformative commercial catalyst that women’s football rightfully deserves.

Reflecting on this, we delve into a few 'what could have been?' scenarios. Let's explore five brands that could have emerged as game-changers, had FIFA embraced a more inclusive sponsorship model and made tournament IP accessible to more brands.

Women’s football is inarguably the most inclusive sport.

Josh Green, Executive Creative Director at House 337

1. Bumble 

Women’s football is inarguably the most inclusive sport. LGBTQ+ players and fans are disproportionately represented. At least 96 openly out players played in the tournament, which equates to 13% of all players (compared to zero in the Men’s World Cup). Even more, four couples competed against each other - Sam Kerr (Australia) and Kristie Mewis (USA), Ellie Carpenter (Australia) and Danielle van de Donk (Netherlands) and Pernille Harder (Denmark) and Magdelena Eriksson (Sweden). Bumble, the digital platform for dating, mating, and networking, could have harnessed this spirit of inclusivity. Imagine 'Matchday Mate,' a Bumble campaign encouraging connectivity among LGBTQ+ players and fans, with an aim to enrich the World Cup experience and drive inclusivity of sports at large. 

2. Headspace 

Football and abuse, sadly go foot in boot. And, even today, women footballers are subject to a deluge of misogynistic comments on social media. What better way for Headspace to get involved in the tournament than with a global campaign called ‘Report for Your Country.’ A call to action to identify and disavow vile comments on social media - and to play your part in helping your country and its players perform at their best. Report for England, Report for Australia, Report for America. You get it.

Female athletes continue to face unwarranted scrutiny based on their physical appearance.

Josh Green, Executive Creative Director at House 337

3. Dove 

Female athletes continue to face unwarranted scrutiny based on their physical appearance. Dove (who’s parent company Unilever is a sponsor) has been instrumental in challenging beauty standards with its long-running 'Real Beauty' campaign. The brand could have extended this platform into the Women’s World Cup with “Real Beauty FC,” a campaign  spotlighting and celebrating beauty in all of its diverse forms present during the tournament. 

4. P&G 

Outdated stereotypes regarding professional athletes and parenthood persist. Athletes should never have to choose between their passion and parenthood. P&G could have repurposed their iconic "Thank You Mum" Olympics campaign for the World Cup, featuring the children of player-parents expressing gratitude and deriving inspiration from their mothers. America's 23-woman squad featuring three mums, Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz and Alex Morgan - would’ve been a great place to start. 

5. Paddy Power 

How does the mischievous lot at Paddy Power (full admission: a former client) turn punters of the men’s game into punters of the women’s? By showing that women’s football is just football minus the nonsense. Imagine a cheeky campaign called “Football Without the Bollocks.” Women’s World Cup - it’s basically the men’s game without the diving, time-wasting, swearing, pre-planned celebrations and hooliganism. How good?

Guest Author

Josh Green

Executive Creative Director House 337


Josh was most recently ECD of Octagon and sister agency FRUKT, leading the agency’s creative output and a department of 32 across six European offices. Boston-born and now based in London, Josh has consistently created work that sits at the heart of culture, for brands such as Foot Locker, Jägermeister, Chivas Regal, Expedia, PlayStation, Cisco, AXE, and Liverpool FC. He was the author of Paddy Power’s headline-grabbing “Save our Shirt” campaign. Josh has been featured by the BBC, the Guardian, the Sun and the Daily Mail, and his work has been recognised by British Arrows, the Marketing Society, Creative Circle, Drum Awards, BT Sports Industry Awards, Clios, and Contagious.

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