Title: Future Official Sponor
Media: Paid Social
Country: United States
Date Of Campaign: 10/27/19
Background: After the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team won the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2019, the biggest story wasn't their unprecedented fourth title. It was that female soccer players were being paid 12x less than their male counterparts. Equal pay became the biggest news story in the country. While many attributed the pay discrepancy to gender discrimination, Budweiser dug deeper and found it was also driven by a massive gap in sponsorship. The MLS, the men’s soccer league in America, had 24 official sponsors. The NWSL, the women’s league, had only three. As one of those three sponsors, Budweiser wanted to drive change. In order for Budweiser to help close the pay gap we had to address the sponsorship gap.
Idea: Introducing: The Future Official Sponsors of NWSL. We didn’t just talk about the sponsorship gap. We actually filled it by creating 9 placeholder products for some of the biggest sponsorship categories in sports to show brands what they were missing out on. This approach completely went against everything it meant to be a sponsor of a league. Brands spend massive amounts of time and money to become sponsors of leagues because it gives them access to a passionate fan and customer base. It benefits them substantially. So no brand wants to share that real estate. But we had to do things different because that’s what the league needed. And in the process we changed what it means to call yourself a sponsor.
Results: For the 2020 season, the NWSL added 6 new sponsors (P&G, Secret Deodorant, CBS, Twitch, Google and Verizon). But the biggest impact was when the NWSL announced an increase in their salary cap by almost 20%. Columbia University applauded the campaign saying, “Budweiser has redefined the sponsorship model.” And The Athletic added, “Budweiser is upping the ante on what it means to truly support women’s sports.”