4media group were commissioned by Powerleague to promote their #LevelThePlayingField campaign via an integrated PR campaign consisting of video, research, broadcast pr and news generation elements. Powerleague, the original and premier provider of commercial small sided football in the UK, are running the campaign to encourage more women to get involved in football and give audiences the chance to win tickets to friendly matches ahead of the Women’s World Cup.  

To maximize our reach of this target audience, we polled 2,000 UK adults via our in-house research division, Atomik Research. By utilising our in-house research we were able to generate essential research at a low cost which meant we could allocate more budget to other elements of the campaign.

The research looked to find out more about the nation’s current levels of engagement with the women’s game, what both genders thought of the women’s game in general and how each sex would feel playing against each other; in other words to identify if there was any substance in our idea that there were attitudinal barriers involved with women’s football.  The research revealed that:

  • Women’s engagement with football, played by either gender, was low
  • Over a third of the public believe men’s football is of a higher standard than women’s football
  • A fifth of women, and a quarter of men, would be uncomfortable playing football with players of the opposite gender
  • 36% of the women who would be uncomfortable playing football with men said they feared getting injured
  • 31% stated that ‘men tend to be more experienced playing and understanding football’, while 28% feared that they wouldn’t be taken seriously as a player
  • 11% went so far as to say that ‘it’s not a game for both sexes’

In order to break attitudinal barriers, we first had to find out what they were. Therefore, our strategy for the campaign started with understanding what the general public think about women’s football. To do this we utilised the skills of our in-house research division, Atomik Research, to conduct some nationally representative PR research focussing on current levels of engagement with the women’s game, what both genders thought of the women’s game and how they would feel playing against each other. This research then formed the basis of the further campaign elements and helped us craft a campaign that would break down the barriers most effectively. It also lead to the campaign hashtag; #LevelThePlayingField.

We did this by hiring one of England’s Lionesses and pitting her against a team of mixed gender amateurs and capturing her skill and their reaction to it.Her ability to talk from experience about prejudices she’s faced and the importance of changing the way people think about women’s football was the strongest asset we could have had as it meant we could further enhance her role model status for young women who would see the video and hear interviews all over the country.

Our video production aimed to break down the clichés from the research by combining two powerful elements; Powerleague’s potential as the perfect venue for the next generation of female players to develop their skills; and the example and expertise of an England Lioness; showcasing how strong, talented and powerful women players can be.

The campaign was targeted at the whole of the UK population in order to maximise the potential promotion of Powerleague’s services around the country and awareness of the strength in women’s football.  Also with the Women’s World Cup just weeks away –and England one of the favourites –interest and participation in the game was sure to grow even more. Therefore by using the association with England’s squad, we would maximize awareness the Women’s World Cup and hopefully boost the level of support, achieving one of Powerleague’s key objectives.

  • BBC Breakfast
  • CBBC Newsround
  • BBC Sportsday
  • BBC Get Inspired
  • BBC Radio 5 Live
  • BBC News 24
  • A range of regional BBC Radio stations including BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Wiltshire, BBC Radio Merseyside, and more
  • The Sun in print
  • The Daily Star in print
  • The Daily Star on Sunday in print
  • Yahoo News
  • Yahoo Entertainment
  • Yahoo Sport
  • Yahoo USA
  • Stylist
  • Huffington Post
  • TalkSport
  • and more!

Footage from the video and key stats from the research also featured as the main images for Powerleague’s ‘Women’s Football’ page on their website.

Powerleague Integrated Campaign Stats
Powerleague BBC Breakfast Coverage
Powerleague Newsround Coverage
Fridge Raiders Broadcast DayGreene King Outside Broadcast