‘Aviva Soccer Sisters’ – Aviva Ireland & Football Association of Ireland

In 2019, the FAI and sponsor Aviva rejuvenated the ‘Aviva Soccer Sisters’ girls grassroots football programme and promoted through a multi-channel, multi-phase campaign which drove an 107% increase in participation and a positive impact for Aviva’s brand and its business.

Territory: Ireland


Agency: In-House







‘Aviva Soccer Sisters’ is an annual programme based around the Easter holidays run by the Football Association Of Ireland (FAI) and title sponsor Aviva which sets out to increase the number of girls aged between 7–14 playing soccer over the Easter holidays each year.


The programme began back in 2006 when 738 girls took part and Aviva joined as the title sponsor in 2010 as part of the insurer’s wider Aviva Stadium deal )which spans partnerships with the stadium, the FAI and the IRFU).


For Aviva it is part of a corporate commitment to sustainability, diversity and inclusion and it is one of a series of grassroots programmes were built in to the stadium deal which, as well as Soccer Sisters with the FAI also includes Mini Rugby with the IRFU.


In recent years participation had plateaued so the programme needed rejuvenation.




Whilst national awareness of the Aviva Stadium is high at 89%, consumers find it difficult to differentiate between Aviva Stadium and Aviva Insurance and thus awareness of business activities and product offering is lower.


While the stadium sponsorship acts as a halo for Aviva’s sponsorship portfolio, its grassroots properties like Soccer Sisters are used primarily to tell the brand story and generate awareness of product offerings.


The objectives for the 2019 Soccer Sisters Programme included:


Link to product and what Aviva does as a brand by leveraging the ‘Safe to Dream’ sponsorship platform (built from the umbrella ‘You’re safe in the hands of Aviva’ brand positioning) by highlighting the festival as a safe place for parents to leave their kids to enjoy themselves, learn new skills and grow.


Increase participation from 2018’s 3500 to 6,000 over the two-week Easter period and thus boost the profile for girl’s football. The focus was to engage with ‘mums’ who often don’t read the sports pages and persuade them to sign up their daughters for the programme.


Drive Soccer Sisters awareness amongst key Aviva demographics (‘young and mortgaged’ and ‘career and kids’) and use to develop conversation and drive engagement with these segments during and after the two-week programme.


Position Aviva as an inclusive and diverse brand by helping increase in female participation and encourage girls to get into sport from a young age.





The 2019 events themselves, held two weeks during Easter, were restructured and adopted a ‘festival format’ and all 127 camps were made free (previously it was €30 to attend) in order to appeal to a wider, new audience. They included new ‘Come and Try’ camps, ‘Regional Blitzes’ and ‘Volunteer / Coaching Workshops’ for adults.


The accompanying 2019 ‘Aviva Soccer Sisters’ promotional campaign celebrated the ‘peace of mind’ parents get from knowing that their children are in a safe place with accredited, qualified coaches and are learning new skills and making friends. Thus reinforcing the brand’s marketing strategy which focuses on ‘the freedom that safety empowers our customers with so that they can give their attention to the things they love’.


To promote the revamped 2019 initiative a phased awareness and booking campaign rolled out ahead of Easter.


It kicked off with Aviva teaming up with ambassador and celebrity mum Yvonne Connolly and her daughter Ali (13) to launch the refreshed programme with a PR focused launch event at Aviva Stadium where it was announced that Yvonne (known for lifestyle rather than sport) and Ali would take part in their local Aviva Soccer Sisters camp (Yvonne as a coach-in-training and Ali as a player).


Working with Connolly, who is better known in the consumer lifestyle space to front he launch aimed to combat the idea that football sometimes seems exclusive and the aim was that she would appeal to young mums who may never have considered engaging with football before.


The endorser mother and daughter duo also appeared in video content deployed across Aviva online platforms and display advertising.


The marketing and promotional team then used key calendar touch points across a variety of marketing and communications channels to promote the camps ahead of Easter reaching out to ‘soccer and non-soccer’ mums’ and ‘soccer/proud dads’ within its key segments via paid, owned and earned media across consumer and sports publications, social media content, weekly eZines, direct to existing customer communication and below-the-line activity.


One key activation strand was a Mother’s Day media partnership with the Daily Mail Group based on a series on ‘Soccer Moms’ which linked to car insurance.


Another was a pre- Easter PR push led by a ‘Father’s Day’ video fronted by Ireland international player James McClean with the message that he would like his daughters to have the same opportunities as his son when it comes to playing football.


A direct ‘booking drive’ phase occurred during halftime activity at the Republic Of Ireland v Georgia Euro 2020 qualifier at the Aviva Stadium on 23 March.


This was followed by a ‘Dream Camp’ campaign phase which gave 20 women’s football clubs a chance to play on hallowed turf of the Aviva Stadium which was fronted by Irish international stars Niamh Farrelly and Isibeal Atkinson (the latter was herself a ‘Soccer Sister’ growing up).


Participation was also incentivised by Soccer Sisters being given the chance to be ball kids for the team’s Euro 2021 games.






Feedback from the 2019 camps and campaign was, according to the brand, ‘overwhelmingly positive’ and many of those who participated had previously had no awareness of the Soccer Sisters programme.


Among the campaign’s key results were:

    > 7,322 participants (a 107% increase on 2018).

    > 302 new coaches who will contribute to the growth of the women’s game.

    > €864,799 worth of media coverage with 162 individual pieces/articles.

    > 1,010,824 social reach and 1,793,227 social impressions.

    > 73% open rate for weekly eZines.

    > 605 landing page arrivals on the Aviva site generating 140 quotes and 15 sales.

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