Heineken Champions Female Football Fans In New UEFA-Linked ‘Cheers To All Fans’ Campaign

Heineken Cheers To All Fans F1 1

The start of May saw UEFA Champions League partner Heineken unveil a new TV, digital and social campaign celebrating female soccer fans and addressing gender bias across the sport. Spanning a series of ads and a web hub, the Dutch brewer’s ‘Cheers To All Fans’ campaign kicks off its new programme to tackle gender discrimination in football.

 

Created by Publicis Italy, the campaign points out that women make up almost half of the world’s football fans and features female footballers and fans across a variety of teams (from elite professionals to the grassroots game), ages and ethnicities enjoying the game – often with a glass of Heineken.

 

The activation, which dropped in key markets around the world on 2 May, brings to life’s the brand’s belief that ‘the greatest goal should always be equality’ and launched with a pair of lead spots linked by the #CheersToAllFans hashtag.

 

The 90-second ‘Cheers To All Fans’ commercial features an edited array of female football scenes in  answer to the question ‘what image comes to mind when you think about a football fan?’: one woman leave a date to watch the game in the bathroom on her phone, while another a woman slow dances with her partner watching the TV over his shoulder.

 

 

A second ‘Fresher Football: The Greatest Goal’ spot saw Heineken partner with former Arsenal player and current BBC Sports presenter Alex Scott – who becomes the beer brand’s first female soccer ambassador – and fellow Arsenal legend Thierry henry. The narrative arc opens with a TV football commentator celebrating the career of an Arsenal football icon. Viewers are initially led to believe the player in question is Henry, but by the end of the ad realise that the commentator is talking about Scott – whom Henry salutes by raising a bottle of Heineken.

 

 

The videos and support social media content were deployed across television and owned and paid social channels and seek to drive viewers to the project’s online ‘Fresher Football’ hub https://fresherfootball.heineken.com/: which the brand claims is the first website where football statistics have no gender bias and thus is ‘a place to celebrate great goals – all of them’.

 

The objective behind the new website, which was created in partnership with GOAL, is to provide the correct answers to common questions asked about the UEFA Champions League without overlooking the features and achievements of the women’s game and female games. The brand and agency team hopes this will serve to further influence algorithms, search engines and fan sites to display correct, gender-inclusive football information.

 

To further achieve this objective, Heineken also bought key AdWords around popular soccer questions enabling Heineken to intercept online search and provide correct answers which ensure female achievements are not overlooked.

 

 

According to Heineken research, two-thirds of women in football have experienced gender discrimination and this fact helped inform Heineken’s mission to evolve its sponsorships within the sport into an approach which address the uneven playing field when it comes to gender by highlighting some of the ways that women are unfairly treated.

 

“Heineken is a brand for the fans and we’ve always been passionate about bringing people together to celebrate the things they love. Now, on our journey to improve inclusivity in football through our sponsorships, we’re committed to ensuring the sport is a safe and welcoming space for everyone,” explained Global Head of Heineken Brand Bram Westenbrink.

 

“We are delighted to see our long-standing partner Heineken taking a bold stance with their campaign to support women’s football,” added UEFA Head Of Women’s Football  Nadine Keßler. “UEFA has set up the UEFA Women’s Euro and UEFA Women’s Champions League competitions to not only showcase the best of the women’s game, but to engage the next generation of players and fans. Heineken’s campaign will help promote the importance of equality in the sport and we look forward to supporting them with their movement.”

 

“What I love about football is that it brings people together from all walks of life. Everyone has a right to take part in the sport they love, whether they’re a fan or a player,” added Scott. “At the end of the day, sport is sport, and no one should be left out. That’s why I’m excited to work with Heineken to challenge the stereotypes. Football should be for everyone.”

 

 

Comment

 

This campaign marks a fresh, new direction for Heineken’s football sponsorship: one which ensures its entire football activation across both the men’s and women’s games all tackle gender bias affecting both players and fans of the sport.

 

The global drinks brand aims to evolve its sponsorships in the sport to address the uneven playing field when it comes to gender by highlighting some of the ways that women are unfairly treated: beginning with a focus on correcting gender bias statistics.

 

Heineken has sponsored the UEFA Champions League since 1994 – making it the tournament’s oldest partner – and in 2021 Heineken also became a partner of both the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the UEFA Women’s Euro tournament after the brand decided it needed to mirror its support for both men and women football.

 

Heineken’s activation follows a growing trend by beverage companies and other brands in supporting and leveraging the growing interest in women’s sports (which have so often been overlooked and underserved in sports advertising and media in the past).

 

Heineken’s UEFA work follows on from recent female sports initiatives such as Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker’s ‘Running With The Angels’ anthem activation around its sponsorship of Angel City FC and Busch Light’s female NASCAR driver ‘Accelerate Her’ initiative.

 

 

 

 

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