You don’t have to look far to find negative comments about women’s sports, particularly with the early elimination of Team USA from the Women’s World Cup.
Despite that, this year’s tournament marks something of a turning point for the sport, with the 2023 Women’s World Cup set to become the most successful women’s sporting event in history.
As the tournament heads into its closing weekend, with England and Spain squaring off for the championship game, World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola took the field with a campaign celebrating “Growing Belief” in the sport.
“Growing Belief” transforms the types of negativity you’ll find online into affirmations, allowing viewers of the campaign’s video ad to watch the process of trolls’ commentary turned into messages boosting women’s soccer on fields across co-host nations Australia and New Zealand.
For example: “It’s women’s football. No one will follow it.” becomes “It's women’s football. A record 2 billion people just followed it together.” And in a message referencing Australia’s Ellie Carpenter, “A farm girl will never go far in professional football” turns into “A farm girl is playing for her country in front of 75,000 home fans.”
“Coca-Cola has been supporting the FIFA Women's World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1991,” Coca-Cola Australia Marketing Director Kate Miller noted in a statement, explaining that the success of this year’s Women’s World Cup “is not only breaking records but is also breaking down long-held beliefs in society about women in sports.”
The process Coca-Cola employed to create the messages, in collaboration with partner WPP Open X/AKQA, is a story in its own right. They employed drones to bend individual blades of grass with a gentle stream of air to create a shadow effect, allowing the messages to be visible on fields for up to 48 hours without causing any damage to the grass.
In addition to arriving ahead of the tournament’s final matches, the campaign also coincides with Coca-Cola’s "Level the Playing Field" diversity, equity, and inclusion summit in Sydney today, which features individuals who have been influential in fueling change across business and society.