Puma Brazil sought to highlight gender inequality in sport in general and in football in particular in Spring 2022 through an experiential initially which literally created an ‘UnLevel Playing Field / ‘Joga Na Subida’.
Brand research found that women’s sport in Brazil and around the world is often marginalised, usually underfunded and sometimes simply ignored meaning women’s teams and leagues struggle for awareness, support and money while their male counterparts benefit from disproportionately higher levels of funding, promotion and media attention. For example, only 1% of Serie A professional football revenue in Brazil is invested in supporting the women’s game and female players.
Working with agency BETC Havas, the brand built a sloped soccer pitch in São Paulo, Brazil which inclined at 4.5 degrees – rising more than 2 metres / 7 feet from one end of the ground to the other – to bring to life gender inequality and to show how striving for equality in sport can feel like a tough, uphill battle.
Staged over five days on the city’s busy Avenida Marginal Pinheiros, the brand then held games on the pitch to show to (mostly) male players that trying to dribble, pass and score on this pitch-turned-metaphor was extremely challenging and filmed the game to form the core content for the resulting campaign led by a hero 60-second launch video which ends with the copy line ‘So what? Shall we even out this difference?’
Puma and its influencers then shared the content across its social platforms to generate widespread media coverage with the hero film dropping on 19 May.
The initiative’s primary athlete ambassador was Brazil national women’s team and Corinthians left back Tamires Dias who took part in the game and then commented “I think now they know how we feel, right?”
BECT Havas Creative Director Marceloa Ribeiro and Associate Creative Director Victor Castelo explained that it is still common in Brazil to hear comments such as ‘It’s normal for them to earn less’ and ‘A woman’s place is not on the football field’ and that this is the kind of attitude that hinders women from earning a living by playing the sport they love.
“It’s like they play uphill compared to the structure that exists for men,’ said Ribeiro and Castelo. “So we teamed up with Puma to design a sloped structure that was possible to play on, while still showing the difficulty women face with less investment.”
The campaign was created for Puma by a team at BETC HAVAS which included CCO Erh Ray, ECD Andrea Siqueira, Creative Director Marcelo Ribeiro, Associate Creative Director Victor Castelo, Creatives Victor Castelo, Philippe Demar and Guilherme Markert, Integrated Production Director Anna Luisa Ferraz, Producers Juliana Arantes, Rafael Paes and Dayane Dantas, Scene Director Luigi Dias, Editor Arthur Carvalho, Graphic Production Artists Gilmar Souza, Carlos Valeriano and Marcio Brusaferro.
Audio production was handled by Mission Music with producer Gabriel Soster and Account Manager Luciana Fernandes, the co-production company was Santeria Filmes.
Despite advancements in women’s football in recent years, Brazil, like so many markets around the world, remains far from equal when it comes to men’s and women’s football.
But in recent months there has been a marked increase in rights holder and sponsor brand campaigns driving awareness of inequality and championing investment in women’s sport.
Some of these standout activations, campaign and initiatives in this recent wave of work include UEFA Champions League partner Heineken’s ‘Cheers To All Fans’, Heroes Of Today ‘The Dream’, Cracker Jack reimagining its mascot as ‘Cracker Jill’ in an MLB new season campaign in harness with the non-profit Women’s Sports Foundation, plus 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.