By now you will have heard the news that the Lionesses won their Women’s Euro’s final against Germany. We can finally say that football has come home! What you might not have seen are the creative ways in which their journey has been represented. Starting out with the official England team announcement illustrated by Kelly Anna, and even extending to their ‘diamond inspired’ kits by Nike. The Women’s Euros marks a monumental moment for creativity around the football tournament. While football as a sport continues to expand, the Women’s Euros provided a platform for female athletes to gain the respect of the wider fanbase.
How Designers Styled Out The Women’s Euros
The England squad announcement set the tone for what turned out to be an incredibly creative marketing approach to a sports event. London based artist, Kelly Anna illustrated a piece called ‘She Shoots, We Score’ to announce the 23 player lineup, and England’s marketing team created a squad announcement video which showcased the design on the pitch and linked with a sticker pack that Anna also designed.
The video plays on the community spirit that football evokes, as well as addressing women’s football and how much it’s growing in popularity. It’s got cameo’s from sporting celebrities and features Kelly Anna’s sticker pack design at the forefront, with everyone collecting and gathering their own perfect team.
The video concludes with an animation of Anna’s illustration that shifts into the final squad list announcement. To tie in with this, promotional materials were posted on social that link with Anna’s work. This was to push a new women’s England squad identity and link to their new iridescent uniforms, all relating back to the wider team brand.
To keep the themes of pride shown in Kelly Anna’s work, Nike created team uniforms that feature England’s first ever iridescent logos, alongside patterning which was inspired by diamonds, and apparently suggested by the players. Being only the second time a collection has been designed solely for the women’s team, this Euro’s kit also featured playful typefaces and hidden messages in the collar as a booster to the team.
The words ‘send her victorious’ featured as a message to the ‘football queens’ and the away kit features a daring red/orange color that’s supposedly a nod to Dutch coach, Sarina Wiegman.
How Household Brands Visualized The Women’s Euros
Both the pre-Euro’s marketing and the preview of the kits has gained traction online, building both the anticipation of the game and also providing a ground for discussion on women’s football.
With the kits being the second collection that’s been designed exclusively for the women’s team, it shows that women’s football has not only come into its own, but deserves its own creative stamp which is evident through Kelly Anna’s and Nike’s designs.
The creative marketing has only grown since England’s win at the Women’s Euros too, with well-known household names rushing to show support of the lionesses.
Where digital marketing seemed to be at the forefront of the the Women’s Euros advertising, other brands have chosen print and OOH marketing which can be highlighted online. Nike featured their updated swoosh after the final via a Metro cover wrap ad, showing the word ‘home’ instead of the standard ‘Nike’ in a patriotic red, contrasting on white to make up England’s key colors and the names of the squad on the back. This effort was simple, but very effective for the kit sponsors who decided size mattered over complexity.
Royal Mail followed suit, keeping their ad simple and clean. Using a wrapped football, ready for postage with the address marked out as ‘HOME’, playing on everyone’s favorite key phrase “it’s coming home” and evoking that celebratory spirit across social media.
Amazon kept their ad to social media, but went for a slightly more fun approach, using their parcel tracking visual to represent the trophy making its way home.
Walkers went for a full page press ad, using a ready salted crisp to mark the occasion via a medal and successfully steered clear of the “It’s Coming Home” phrase that opposing brands have used.
Other companies have taken a more traditional approach, using OOH in different ways, including Specsavers, GRW and even Sainsbury’s.
Specsavers went for their classic sight test billboards with one amendment on the text and a play on “It’s Coming Home” to create their “It’s ACTUALLY Coming Home” billboard. GRW took a different approach on the “It’s Come Home” phrase, featuring an illustration for the Lionesses and the phrase on the side of their Intercity Express train 800316 that the Women’s Euro’s attendees would see.
Sainsbury’s however may have won the creative OOH category, developing one of the best ads at the 2022 Women’s Euros. They used a series of posters and billboards that combined both the Sainsbury’s business and the Lionesses anthem ‘Sweet Caroline’ with imagery of a swede, a carrot and a lime, and the tagline “Sing it for the Lionesses”.
EE was one of the only companies to use TV ads at the Women’s Euros. These ads also featured on social media as well as utilizing a full page print ad to tackle the topic of sexist abuse aimed at women in football.
Even design agencies ended up getting involved, with the agency Homeground visualizing the Lionesses style as a series of everyday – but completely made up – products. The brand used player’s unique skills and abilities to create personalized products such as Alessia Russo as a Zippo lighter and Sarina Wiegman as a stamp showcasing her ‘ability to deliver’.
The Women’s Euros Sparked A Defining Moment For Creative Sports Marketing
This years Women’s Euros has opened up creative boundaries, and pushed creative advertising further in the field of sport than its been before. It’s been able to showcase an ability to bring people together, and has created an incredibly strong team presence through branding. This is something we’ve never really seen before, especially for women’s football. It would be nice to see a continuation of this, even into wider events like the Commonwealth Games, which has given the city of Birmingham a complete makeover to match its identity, but also on social media where ads can be more creative and interactive to really draw people into the game.
Digital advertising for the England team has integrated people into the Women’s Euros in an immersive way. It has pushed for interaction and given people a visualization for the women’s team that they can associate with themselves.
The squad announcement gave communities a link to the game, showcasing how widespread support for women’s football has become, and fans have been able to share their support during and after the win on social media by sharing creative ads. England won at the Women’s Euros, whilst brands broke ground and paved the way for future digital design to entice followers around sporting events that will hopefully continue.