Where are the footballers in Budweiser’s Women’s World Cup ad?

GCSE history students will be all too familiar with Queen Elizabeth I’s “Heart and stomach of a king” speech to troops ahead of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Budweiser’s in-house agency, DraftLine, has cleverly borrowed it for their Women’s World Cup sponsorship ad, which appears to be a powerful film celebrating the strength and courage of the England team.

Except the actual players aren’t featured in the film, apart from some general background action clips. It’s a shame they don’t get a chance to speak for themselves: instead we have actors Zawe Ashton and Naomie Harris, model Suki Waterhouse, boxer Nicola Adams, and singer Jessie Ware. The only footballer in the ad is the rather good looking Rachel Aba Yankey, who who doesn’t play any more.

There may have been contractual issues with bringing in the players, but it seems unlikely. Being footballers, the real Lionesses probably aren’t great actors, but replacing them with talented (and glamorous) women from the entertainment world doesn’t seem right. Women’s football needs to promote its personalities if it wants to live up to all the commercial hype around this tournament.

The quote from Tatiana Stadukhina, marketing director at Budweiser, skirts the issue entirely. She said: “As official partner to the team, we wanted to honour the incredible women who make up the Lionesses and play our small part in shining a light on them as they take centre stage at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

MAA creative scale: 5. It’s a good film but defeats its own purpose.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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