Those who believe women’s football is a recent phenomenon think again, there is evidence of an ancient version of the game (Tsu Chu) being played by females in China over two thousand years ago. It is also possible that 12th-century French women played “association football” while an annual competition in Mid-Lothian also took place during the 1790s.
Despite being more popular than some men’s football events the women’s “beautiful game” in England suffered a blow in 1921 when the male FA outlawed women from playing the game on its members’ pitches, ruling that their game was “distasteful”.
Fast-forward nearly 100 years – why it took quite so long is anyone’s guess – and suddenly brands are waking up to the fact the women’s footie is big business.
Enter the latest campaign from Lucozade Sport, which has rewritten the classic Three Lions football song to drum up support for the England team ahead of the Fifa Women’s World Cup this summer.
Created by Grey London, the reworked tune swaps low expectations about the England men’s team with sexist attitudes about women’s football in general. The lines “That England’s going to throw it away, gonna blow it away” are replaced with “That we don’t have the skill in their eyes. Well we’re tired of the lies”.
And “All those ‘well done girls’” replaces “oh-so-nears” as the source of wearing down England supporters.
“Three Lionesses” is part of a wider campaign which also encourages women to try football by giving away 90,000 minutes of free pitch time nationwide through Powerleague and Goals football centres.
In the ad, the names featured in the original Three Lions, such as Gary Lineker, Nobby Stiles and Bobby Moore, have been replaced by “Lionesses” Steph Houghton, Jordan Nobbs and Jade Moore. Three Lionesses serves as the soundtrack to Lucozade Sport’s ad, which tells the story of footballers overcoming prejudices to reach the international stage.
The aim of the campaign is to help make the women household names as prominent as their male counterparts.
New lyrics include “Same pride. Same meaning… Never stopped us dreaming” and “We still see that tackle by Moore, and when Nikita scored, Stephy’s belting the ball, and Nobbsy dancing”.
Claire Keaveny, head of marketing at Lucozade Sport, said: “Arguably, Three Lions is the most iconic England song, so we’re proud to be able to give it a Lionesses twist in support of the team and the women’s game in general. Our aim is to stir up support for the Lionesses, but also inspire a generation to get moving and try football.”
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office? Why the long face? The whole point of the original Three Lions – and the accompanying video – was that it was a self-deprecating ditty about the state of the English game. We laughed, we cried, we winced as Gareth Southgate cocked up the penalty shoot-out.
This ad is just a miserable rant; there is no humour, there is little to inspire the next generation of women’s footballers and it certainly does Lucozade no favours. There isn’t even a sign song…
Decision Marketing Adometer: 4 out of 10.
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