AFL Women’s League marketing campaign kicking goals

February 14th, 2017 by Avant Card

In June 2016, Australian sporting history was made and eight teams were named for the inaugural AFL Women’s League in 2017 – Adelaide, Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs. In an article by Bruce Matthews, published on www.afl.com.au/news, Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce said “It’s great to have the opportunity to play an elite sport out on an elite arena in a professional environment. But more so, to look around today and see those little girls who will grow up knowing that’s something they can achieve is amazing.”

Jemma Wong – who has worked at the Australian Football League as their Marketing Manager from November 2015 – is currently heading up marketing and brand for the AFL Women’s League. “As part of this groundbreaking era in football, I am leading the brand and marketing strategy, collaborating with competing clubs, partners, broadcasters and stakeholders to create a bold contemporary brand (designed with purpose) and to build a positive female culture across the industry. This has been a passion and history making project to be a part of.”

Various promotional channels have been used as part of the marketing campaign.We’re building a new brand and stretching ambitiously for new audiences. We’ve led with content first, based around the emotive connections between our players and fans. This means we’ve played heavily across digital channels (responsive experiences) with an emphasis on Instagram (the platform for personal storytelling). We’ve amplified that with moment-led promotion and PR, as well as the right punctuation of outdoor for impact (like Avant Card!).”

“A lot of this is new terrain, particularly as we are introducing a new league, a new brand and we are pitching harder for the attention of young females and youth audiences.”

“Outdoor has been a strong part of the mix for most sports organisations, promoting big heroes and live event experiences.”

“Our campaign kicked off on 22 January 2017, however we’ve been seeding with great PR and digital content since September last year. Campaign cycles aren’t what they used to be, so I believe in an always-on strat to keeping your brand relevant and above water.”

The AFL Women’s Avant Card campaign hit displays across Australia on Wednesday 8 February. Comprising of three cards, the creative features photographs of three players (and a quote from each) from different teams. The back outlines the details for all 29 games.

“I’ve always loved the Avant Card medium for connecting with culturally minded, creative and event enthusiasts. It skews to a younger demo, it has great placement in cafes, universities, venues and it is aesthetics driven. When working through the marketing mix it was the perfect tool to test reach to a new audience and the perfect alignment for the empowering, spirited and inclusive brand behind AFLW.  It’s all about new role models and heroes, so we want those role models to be front and center in every cafe.”

The campaign has been incredibly successful. As seen in an AAP article published on www.abc.net.au: ‘The AFL predicted about 12,000 fans would attend last Friday night’s inaugural women’s competition opening match between Carlton and Collingwood. Instead it was a lock-out – about 24,500 fans showed up and AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan went outside the gates to apologise as hundreds more were turned away.”

Wong is hoping the campaign sparks more than just stadiums full of cheering fans. She would love to see it “create conversation about the perceptions of women in AFL and women in sport, as well as inspire/rally a generation of young girls to get behind the game. We don’t want the buzz and conversation of AFLW to shut down after the eight rounds, we want to sustain interest and passion levels.”

As to the team colours Wong will be wearing at the games: “Proud red and blue for the Melbourne FC of course! But I have a cheeky soft spot for the GWS GIANTS so throw in some orange.”

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