Campaign: Squared Ball
Agency partners: Edelman (creative); Rasenreich (ball production)
Duration: July 6 — ongoing
Just like you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole, you can’t kick a square soccer ball.
Allianz, a Germany-based financial services company, is using that symbolism in a campaign to illustrate the inequalities women face in the sport.
Allianz, which is based in Munich, decided to tackle gender inequality because it determined that “young girls pursuing dreams have low financial literacy,” said Christian Anhut, Edelman chief creative officer in Germany. Women tend to score lower on financial literacy tests, according to a report from the Stanford Center on Longevity.
To kick-start the conversation about this disparity, the company focused on the Women’s World Cup, Anhut said.
We needed to pick an event where this “could resonate with the biggest possible audience, just to spread the word that financial literacy is a powerful tool,” Anhut said. The World Cup “seemed like a good stage to bring that topic into the world.”
The Women’s World Cup took place in July and August in Australia and New Zealand. The creatives highlighted the inequality that exists between male and female athletes with the image of a squared ball.
For example, in the U.S., women’s soccer players have made a fraction of the money of their male counterparts, played in second-class facilities and faced systemic abuse, according to The New York Times.
“If you take that most important part of the game and make it squared, I think that conveys the obstacles that women are facing,” Anhut said.
To introduce the object, the brand partnered with three players — Guilia Gwinn, Sarah Zadrazil, and Maxi Rall — of professional club Bayern Munich women’s team and asked them to discuss the challenges they faced.
Gwinn, 23, said in a campaign video that when she was growing up, there were no girls teams, so she had to play with the boys.
“Women’s football wasn’t as popular at the time, and there were also some prejudices,” Gwinn says in German in the video. “I think the squared ball is really cool because women’s football still has a long way to go, and I believe it’s up to our generation to stand up for it.”
Another video shows professional female football players competing hard and emphasizes that they are often not paid as much as other professional athletes.
The campaign also gave 100 normal balls to teams and influencers at the tournament and created a financial literacy program, The Ready Coaches, targeted at female athletes.
The creatives promoted the campaign on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
To generate earned media, the campaign staged a launch event featuring Steffi Jones, a former German player and manager of its women’s national team.
The campaign videos featuring the Bayern players and showing female football players in intense competition generated more than 340,000 views on YouTube, and the latter video generated more than 1.3 million views and more than 4,000 likes on Instagram.